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Waymo, UPS and others pressure Newsom government to allow autonomous trucking in California londonbusinessblog.com

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Waymo, Aurora, UPS and Luminar are among a group of 34 autonomous vehicle developers, California corporate organizations, and auto and logistics companies that have signed an agreement. open letter to Governor Gavin Newsom who asked him to reconsider the California Department of Motor Vehicles’ 2015 ban on the use of autonomous trucks in the state.

California began regulating autonomous vehicles in 2012, and has been the main battleground for robotic axi operations. Late last week, Cruise started charging for completely driverless rides, and Waymo recently opened driverless testing for employees in San Francisco. Despite opening up AV regulations to larger AVs for the delivery targets in 2019DMV regulations continue to preclude the autonomous testing or deployment of vehicles weighing more than 10,001 pounds.

Texas, the state that hosts all of Silicon Valley’s tax refugees, is home to most of the country’s autonomous trucking operations, with companies like Waymo Via, Aurora, Kodiak Robotics, TuSimple, and more testing or operating commercial partnerships. Arizona, New Mexico, Louisiana, Nevada and Colorado also have test and implementation regulations for autonomous trucks.

California is a leader in regulating lightweight autonomous vehicles, especially for robotaxis, but those behind the letter to Newsom argue that without updated regulations for autonomous trucks, the state will fall behind in technology advancements and business opportunities.

“Without regulation to allow this technology, California risks losing our competitive edge,” the letter reads. “As the industry implements new pilot programs, builds critical infrastructure and creates the 21st-century jobs California companies need to grow, investments are limited to other states that allow the deployment of autonomous trucks.”

The letter sites a recent research published by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundationan advocacy group with a mission to maintain Silicon Valley’s place as the international capital of technology innovation, discovering that automated trucking in California could boost the state’s economy by $6.5 billion or more and generate up to 2,400 new jobs .

In states where autonomous freight transportation is legal and regulated, AV companies not only test and deploy their technology, but also set up the infrastructure necessary to operate a commercial service.

For example, Waymo Via has doubled its network of transfer hubs in Texas, enabling the company to adopt a mixed automated and manual approach to trucks that ensures Waymo Driver, Waymo’s AV stack, sticks to major roads and burdens human drivers first and foremost. mile deliveries.

The letter has been signed by a range of industry advocates, from AV technology companies such as Waabi, Embark and Einride, to logistics companies such as DHL Supply Chains, UPS and US Xpress, to members of several California chambers of commerce and more.

Neither Newsom’s office nor the DMV responded to londonbusinessblog.com with comments in a timely manner.

California recently passed the SB 500, a law that dictates that all light autonomous vehicles driving in the state must be electric by 2030. around autonomous trucking in the state, the group is more focused on getting the go-ahead to put heavy trucks on the road rather than making sure that autonomous trucking in the state is done with zero-emission vehicles from the get-go.

“Part of the problem here is that we’ve come to a halt, which means nothing can happen,” Peter Katz, president and CEO of Mountain View Chamber of Commerce, told londonbusinessblog.com. “So when you talk about whether they should be electric, or whether they should run on gas, it’s almost way too far ahead of a question. First we had to find out what the requirements are in order to be able to respond smartly. In the eyes of companies, this is a block that really needs to go, so that all other things can open up and start flowing.”

The letter sent to Newsom on Monday follows a similar letter to the governor written in May by a group of seven California lawmakers. That note asked for information from the administration about steps the DMV has taken to understand emerging heavy-duty AV truck technology and its implications in California; why California has lagged behind other states in AV truck regulation; and when the DMV will begin the regulatory process for heavy AV cargo transportation and by what date such regulations will be completed.

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