California Bills Take Aim at Robotaxi Regulation

Local officials want more control over how and where autonomous cars are deployed.

1 minute read

April 29, 2024, 12:00 PM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

White Waymo self-driving taxi on street in San Francisco, California with brick buildings in background.

A Waymo self-driving taxi in San Francisco, California. | David Elkins / Adobe Stock

A series of proposed laws in California could clarify how commercial autonomous vehicles (or robotaxis) are regulated and give local governments more control over their deployment, reports Rebecca Bellan in Tech Crunch. “One bill, SB 915, stands out because it could give cities more power to set their own rules around robotaxis — things like hours of operation and appropriate pickup and drop-off locations.”

Self-driving cars became a major issue in California last year, when a state commission approved their deployment on city streets despite vocal opposition from local leaders. 

Bellan outlines the proposed bills that will be considered in this legislative session, describing how each would impact AV deployment and regulation. Other bills require human operators in autonomous heavy-duty vehicles, call for geofencing protocols and more robust reporting, and open the door to fining car manufacturers for infractions committed by autonomous cars. None of the bills would allow cities to ban AVs outright, but industry leaders say the patchwork of regulations that will likely result from local control could slow the industry’s growth.

Saturday, April 27, 2024 in Tech Crunch

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