NYC will allow companies to test autonomous vehicles on its streets

New York City is now accepting applications from companies that make autonomous vehicles and want to test them on city streets.

“This technology is coming whether we like it or not, so we’re going to make sure that we get it right,” Mayor Eric Adams wrote in a statement.

A trained safety driver will still be required to sit behind the wheel of autonomous vehicles at all times, according to state law. The Department of Transportation wrote that it will require companies that want to operate autonomous vehicles on city streets to have regular meetings with DOT officials as well as share data and submit safety plans. Applicants will also be required to coordinate with the police and fire departments on how their autonomous vehicles interact with emergency vehicles.

But a top union official for U.S. transportation workers is warning officials that allowing this could be disastrous.

“It’s totally insane. Pedestrians cross streets in Manhattan, like no other city in the country,” said John Samuelsen, the international president of the Transport Workers Union. “They do whatever they want, whenever they want. These vehicles are not prepared to deal with that type of pedestrian interaction.”

Samuelsen’s union represents MTA bus drivers in the city, and said workers will go on strike if autonomous vehicles try to replace them.

He said things have not gone well in San Francisco, where vehicles from the company Waymo, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet, are currently operating.

“The automated vehicles have blocked law enforcement response to crime scenes, law enforcement response to felonies in progress. They’ve blocked ambulance response to, San Francisco citizens having heart attacks,” Samuelsen said. “The same exact thing is going to happen in New York, and in fact it’s going to be worse.”

Waymo didn’t respond to a request for comment.

In a press release from the city, Waymo defended its track record.

“Waymo has had a long-standing relationship with New York City, where we have previously manually driven and tested for winter weather,” wrote Michelle Peacock, Waymo’s global head of public policy. “We commend this important step, as well as the city’s ongoing commitment to drive innovation and deliver transportation improvements for New Yorkers.”

Source link


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *