Following the Uber incident involving self-driving cars, Phil Ting, assembly member in San Francisco, is planning to toughen local laws regarding autonomous vehicles. He introduced a bill that regulates the fining of companies which use unauthorized autonomous cars. The fine goes up to $25,000 per vehicle per day. Also, the law does not allow the fined cars to apply for autonomous vehicle testing permit for two years.
Ting declared that he praises the amazing economic and technological developments made by the American companies, but development should not be attained at the cost of human lives. These companies should first of all be part of a community, respect its laws and its residents. He admitted the revolutionary capacity of these machines but not at the price of choosing profit first and not the safety of the users.
But what exactly is all this scandal about? Last month, San-Francisco based company Uber sent a number of self-driving cars on the streets to pick up passengers. Each car was able to drive itself but they also had a driver remotely watching, ready to take control of the car if something happened. The controversy was based on the fact that these self-driving cars needed to be tested on public roads beforehand and Uber refused to apply for the $150 permit provided by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. As a consequence, the registrations of these cars were revoked by DMV and they have been sent to Arizona for further testing.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Attorney General Kamala Harris condemned Uber for the incident and Ting wants to prevent a similar situation from happening. The bill would require for the revoking of the registrations of self-driving cars without permit and would allow for further legal actions to be taken against the owner.
The bill has acquired much support. One of its active supporters is Aaron Peskin, San Francisco Supervisor and Transportation Authority Chair. He declared that he was happy to see some action taken against the negligence of public safety. He agreed that cars should have been tested beforehand and not used directly on community members. Innovation should not be followed at any price and tech companies should put the safety of their customers first and then aim for the profit.
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