May 12, 2023

Law360 Quotes Ariel Wolf on a Proposed California Autonomous Vehicle Trucking Bill

2 min

On May 12, 2023, Ariel Wolf was quoted in Law360 on a proposed California bill seeking to ban autonomous heavy-duty trucks from operating without a human driver behind the wheel. 

According to the article, Assembly Bill 316, which advanced out of two committees in the lower chamber of the California State Legislature this spring, would prohibit the operation of any autonomous vehicle weighing more than 10,001 pounds on public roads for testing purposes, transporting goods, or transporting passengers without a human safety operator physically present in the autonomous vehicle at the time of operation.

There's no precedent for a state to require a human driver to be present—in perpetuity—in order to fully deploy commercial Avs, according to Wolf.

"Requiring a human driver to be present in an AV is fundamentally at odds with the aim of the technology," he said. "A vehicle driving autonomously is the feature, not the bug."

"There's just no leg to stand on when trying to make this bill about safety ... if these concerns are legitimate, you'd think that the DMV process would be a great place to bring that to bear, right?" Wolf added. "It'd be a tremendous mistake to proceed along these lines for purely political and irrational reasons. So, the process has a ways to go, and we're going to continue to engage thoughtfully with anyone who wants to listen to thoughtful engagement."