As self-driving vehicles come closer and closer to widespread use, lawmakers are making clear that they won’t give the companies unfettered access to public streets.
On Wednesday morning, L.A. City Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martínez hosted a news conference to announce his plans to regulate autonomous vehicles, especially those that serve as robotaxis.
A day earlier, the California Department of Motor Vehicles suspended necessary operating permits for the autonomous vehicle company Cruise, citing safety concerns.
Another company, Waymo, recently expanded into Los Angeles, and in addition to drawing the ire of protesting Teamsters, the company has faced safety issues of its own. For instance, a Waymo vehicle struck and killed a dog in San Francisco earlier this year.
“Let me be clear: the city of Los Angeles should not be a test subject for the tech industry,” Soto-Martínez said in the news conference.
Fellow Councilmember Imelda Padilla also expressed concerns, noting that her issues have “everything to do with making sure that our streets of Los Angeles are safe.”
“We just don’t have that promise yet from this sort of technology,” she said.
Waymo sent KTLA a statement in response to the allegations.
“Waymo prioritizes working transparently with policymakers,” the company said in a statement. “Well before our arrival and throughout our current Los Angeles operations, Waymo has worked closely with City Hall, first responders and transportation agencies. Our goal is to introduce a ride-hailing service that improves road safety and supports the region’s transportation, equity and sustainability goals. Based on many productive conversations we’ve had with city leaders, we’re confident we can work together to do that.”