Governor Newsom vetoes anti autonomous trucking legislation
- California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed legislation (Autonomous Trucking Faces Preemptive Bill in California) that would have required autonomous trucks that weighed more than 10,000 pounds to have a human driver in the cab at all times. The governor’s veto is seen as a big win for the autonomous vehicle industry. The bill was largely backed by union members, including the California Labor Federation (CLF). In response to the governor’s veto, Lorena Gonzalez (the president of CLF) called driverless trucks “dangerous” and expressed shock at the governor’s action. She also claimed that removing drivers from commercial trucks would cost the state a quarter million jobs. In his letter blocking the bill, Governor Newsom said, “Assembly Bill 316 is unnecessary for the regulation and oversight of heavy-duty autonomous vehicle technology in California, as existing law provides sufficient authority to create the appropriate regulatory framework.”
- Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt announced the company has surpassed 5 million miles driven. With full self-driving capabilities in San Francisco, Austin, and Phoenix, Cruise continues to expand its footprint within the US. They are testing across several cities and multiple states with the latest being Houston, TX. The company announced that they will begin testing their robotaxis in Houston soon without human operators. A spokesperson confirmed that Cruise is offering a driverless ride-hailing service to employees and their friends and family. This comes before their planned expansion into commercial evening service by the end of the year.
America’s EV tipping point
- Before consumers adopt autonomous vehicles, they must first adopt electric vehicles (EVs). Previously, researchers believed that once new car sales reached 5%, the EV market would explode. New car sales passed the 7% mark earlier this year. A new poll from the Washington Post and the University of Maryland however, showed that almost half of adults prefer to own a gas-powered car. That statistic is in stark contrast with the statistics that show 19% of respondents who say they want a full-electric vehicle, 13% who want a plug-in hybrid and 22% who want a traditional hybrid.
Mercedes-Benz Drive Pilot now in the US
- Mercedes-Benz has entered the autonomous vehicle market in the US. As previously mentioned on this blog, autonomous drive systems are categorized in 5 different levels. The Mercedes-Benz new Drive Pilot system is considered a level 3 driving system. This means that all drive criteria are met and a driver can legally stop paying attention to the road. Currently, this driving mode is currently only available when certain traffic conditions are present (e.g., traffic must be going under 40mph, weather and road conditions must be ideal, etc.). Drive Pilot is currently only available in the state of California, for S-Class and EQS Sedan 2024 models.