News: GM Is Pushing Anticompetitive Legislation to Slow Uber & Waymo

GM Is Pushing Anticompetitive Legislation to Slow Uber & Waymo

Lately, the biggest news in driverless has been the raging lawsuit between two autonomous spearheads, Uber and Google's Waymo. A new bill back by General Motors, however, could take them both out of the race towards driverless.

The Massachusetts bill, filed by Senator Eric Lesser in January and unearthed in a story by the Boston Globe this morning, stipulates that only companies that have "previously 'manufactured and distributed motor vehicles in the United States' make self-driving technology available to the public, in applications such as ride-hailing services."

This would cut major new comers, such as Uber and Waymo, out of a payday once the technology becomes available to mass market. But, as Chan Lieu, legal advisor for the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets (backed by Uber, Lyft, auto makers Ford and Volvo, and Waymo), says, it is "very anticompetitive."

GM's policy director, Harry Lightsey, fired back, saying that this bill will benefit public safety and is simply a "starting point." Firms with more experience manufacturing cars no doubt have more experience with car safety testing and procedures.

It's likely the bill won't make it through, at least not in this iteration. It could also be that GM is simply stalling the major driverless tech companies to an attempt to play catch up. David Whiston, an analyst for Morningstar, pointed out, "It slows the tech companies down, if they have to fight the state Legislatures all the time. It's just a big distraction for them."

It's important to note that this isn't the only legislation tech companies will have to pay attention to; Just this session, nine bills have been filed that involve autonomous car. As the autonomous future draws near, so does a lot of paperwork.

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Cover image via Michael Barera/Wikimedia Commons

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