California Allows Robo-Taxis To Expand – Slashdot

California Allows Robo-Taxis To Expand – Slashdot


Transportation

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msmash

from the closer-look dept.

An anonymous reader shares a report: A battle has been brewing in San Francisco over driverless cars. Hundreds of the autonomous vehicles have been roaming city streets over the past couple of years. On Thursday, the California Public Utilities Commission, or CPUC, voted 3-1 to let self-driving car companies expand their programs and start charging passengers like taxis. The build-up before the Commission’s vote Thursday was tense. Public comment lasted more than six hours. Much of that testimony was about how autonomous vehicles have impeded emergency operations in the city.

San Francisco’s police and fire departments have urged the CPUC to oppose the expansion â” they say they’ve tallied 55 incidents where self-driving cars have got in the way of rescue operations in just the last six months. The incidents include running through yellow emergency tape, blocking firehouse driveways and refusing to move for first responders. “Our folks cannot be paying attention to an autonomous vehicle when we’ve got ladders to throw,” San Francisco Fire Chief Jeanine Nicholson said in a public meeting on Monday providing commissioners testimony before Thursday’s vote. “I am not anti-technology, I am pro-safety.”

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