A War Against Self-Driving Cars Just Kicked Off in New York, But It Could Turn Into Grenada

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
a war against self driving cars just kicked off in new york but it could turn into

A great philosopher once said that you can’t start a fire without a spark, followed by something about rhythmic movements in unlit spaces.

Well, if there’s a war brewing against autonomous technology and self-driving vehicles, the flashpoint might have occurred in New York — City and State — last week. A large trade group and labor union joined forces in denouncing the driverless scourge headed their way, with one of the groups angling for a 50-year-ban on the automotive heathens.

The Upstate Transportation Association, which represents private passenger transportation companies in the state, sees self-driving vehicles as an existential threat to its members’ livelihoods. It wants protection — ideally, five decades’ worth.

Just last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gave the green light to ride-sharing services operating outside of New York City. Those services, be it Lyft or Uber, will be regulated by the state, rather than local governments. While both the UTA and Independent Drivers Guild, which represents for-hire drivers in NYC, are okay with ride-sharing, both are concerned about what that could bring.

Large ride-sharing companies just happen to be strong proponents of autonomous driving technology, and self-driving pilot projects are already springing up in cities like Pittsburgh and San Francisco. For some opponents, the companies are a Trojan Horse hiding hordes of robotic job killers. This, despite Uber promising the creation of 13,000 jobs in upstate New York.

“It doesn’t do anything for the local economy to have driverless cars,” UTA president John Tomassi told CNN. “I’m sure there’s a little bit of job creation, but nothing that will match the number of jobs lost.”

Cuomo hasn’t voiced a stance on self-driving vehicles, but the existing legislation “protecting” human-guided vehicles is full of holes. The IDG wants New York City to enforce state laws requiring the operator of a vehicle to keep one hand on the steering wheel. Still, because the law was crafted before autonomous technology, it might only apply to vehicles without self-driving capabilities.

The brewing war could fizzle overnight in the face of legal challenges from automakers and ride-sharing companies.

[Image: joiseyshowaa/ Flickr ( CC BY-SA 2.0)]

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  • Walleyeman57 Walleyeman57 on Jan 16, 2017

    Ah yes New York. Still denying not only the future but the past too. Uber,Lyft and the others can sway these pea brains by selling the thought that these fully automated vehicles will reduce the dreaded Co2. That and a few fat campaign checks will have the driver-less cars and trucks on the road before they are even ready. Right now it is the protected industries that are paying to play. We all know that those who write the biggest checks get what they want.

    • See 4 previous
    • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Jan 16, 2017

      @PeriSoft Yes, exactly. Rather like WALL-E

  • Ricky Spanish Ricky Spanish on Jan 17, 2017

    Somebody has to: Write the code for the robots Maintain the robots Maintain the vehicles Manufacture spares for the vehicles Maintain the satellites Manage payment and accounts Advertise these services Provide legal and tax advice to the companies Jobs.

  • FreedMike Next up should DEFINITELY be the Cadillac Eldorado. On the subject of Caddies, I saw a Lyriq in person for the first time a couple of days ago, and I'm changing my tune on its' styling. In person, it works quite well, and the interior is very nicely executed.
  • Probert Sorry to disappoint: https://robbreport.com/motors/cars/tesla-model-y-worlds-best-selling-vehicle-1234848318/and any list. of articles with a 1 second google search. It's a tough world out there - but you can do it!!!!!!
  • ToolGuy "We're marking the anniversary of the time Robert Farago started the GM death watch and called for the company to die."• No, we aren't. Robert Farago wrote that in April 2005. It was reposted in 2009 on the eve of the actual bankruptcy filing.The byline dates are sometimes strange/off with the site revisions (and the 'this is a repost' note got lost), but the date string in the link is correct (...2005/04...). Posting about GM bankruptcy in 2005 was a slightly more difficult call than doing it in 2009.-- The Truth About Calendars
  • Kat Laneaux Agree with Michael500, we wasted all that money just to bail out GM and they are developing these cars in China and other countries. What the heck. I understand the cheap labor but that is just another foothold the government has on their citizens and they already treat them like crap. That is pretty disgusting to go forward to put other peoples health and mental stability on a crazy crazed, control freak, leader, who is in bed with Russia. Thought about getting a buick but that just shot that one out of the park. All of this for the greed. They get what they lay in bed with. Disgusting.
  • Michael500 Good thing Obama used $50 billion of taxpayer money to bail them out and give unions a big stake. GM is headed to BK again with their Hail Mary hope of EVs. Hopefully a Republican in office will let them go BK the next time, and it's coming. The US economy is not related/dependent on GM and their Chinese made Buicks.