The AFL-CIO's Transportation Trades Division, which represents 32 unions in the US, has successfully lobbied for the removal of 10,000-lb. and heavier commercial trucks from provisions in bills expected to pass that could allow for millions of driverless vehicles on public roads and streets, Bloomberg News reported.
The exceptions in the bills' provisions effectively block the development and use of driverless trucks for long-haul commercial shipping in the US, serving as a potential blow to Waymo's and Uber's driverless truck programs.
The AFL-CIO has been outspoken about its claims that driverless commercial trucks pose a threat to safety and to millions of jobs connected to the commercial truck industry in the US.
On its website, the union coalition has published the results of studies that purportedly show the risks and dangers associated with commercial trucks and the public's mistrust about driverless vehicles.
At issue is how the US House of Representatives Energy & Commerce committee has unanimously approved a bill that if signed into law will allow carmakers to test and sell self-piloted cars anywhere in the US.
The Republican-backed bill mandates that all US states not only allow for driverless car testing, but would force states to green light the sale of 100,000 vehicles per year per OEM.
The US Senate is also set to vote on a similar bill that Waymo parent Alphabet, Ford, General Motors, Tesla, and other OEMs support.
The US could see a radical jump ahead of the rest of the world for the commercial availability of driverless cars if the popular bills are signed into law. But if unions have their way, humans will continue to drive long-haul commercial trucks as millions of Level 3 or more-advanced self-drive cars become available for sale in retail channels or as part of fleet services.
Toyota Motor North America has agreed to offer $5 million to sponsor the creation of a non-profit autonomous vehicle testing center in Willow Run, Mich. The sprawling 335-acre test site, called the American Center for Mobility, hosts different highway, city, and other simulated road conditions for the development of connected and automated vehicle tests. The state of Michigan is also host to Mcity, a comparatively smaller 32-acre site that is affiliated with the University of Michigan and serves as a testing center for over 15 companies, including BMW, Ford, and General Motors (GM).