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Cities Oppose New Self-Driving Car Law

Legislation that would set the stage for large-scale testing and potential deployment of autonomous vehicles appears poised to become law within months, with support from lawmakers in both parties as well as from car makers and tech companies. But the prospect of the new federal law has alarmed some city officials, who are worried the bill doesn’t do enough to ensure self-driving vehicles are safe around pedestrians and cyclists.

Called the AV START Act, the bill would expand the number of autonomous cars each manufacturer could sell or test on roads, from 2,500 to 80,000 over the next few years. It passed through a key U.S. Senate committee last week. While it still has to pass the full Senate and be reconciled with a version that passed the House of Representatives last month, lobbyists and policy experts expect approval.

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Karina Ricks, director of mobility and infrastructure in Pittsburgh, where Uber is testing autonomous vehicles, added she is concerned the bill may leave cities with too little power to shape the development of autonomous cars, including its “relative silence on information sharing—particularly with cities so we can learn and advance together with the technology.”

Grayson Brulte commented on this article.
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“This bill is going to be somewhat of a wakeup call for a lot of cities that haven’t been paying attention”