Union opposes Waymo, Aurora driverless truck exemption.

WASHINGTON: A major transportation union on Tuesday opposed a request filed by Alphabet’s self-driving unit Waymo and self-driving technology company Aurora for an exemption from the rule on warning devices for large semi-trucks, citing safety concerns.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) last month advised drivers from Waymo and Aurora to place reflective triangles or flares around parked trucks to alert other drivers and help prevent accidents. said it had received a joint application seeking a five-year exemption from the rules mandating crash.

Aurora and Waymo instead hope to use warning beacons mounted in truck cabs to avoid the need for human drivers.

The National Transportation Workers’ Union said the petition was “inappropriate, represents an overreach and misuse of the waiver and waiver process, seriously compromises road safety, and should be denied on the strongest terms possible.” said.

It called on the safety committee to ensure “rigorous oversight and standards” before broadly deploying such new technology.

Without the exemption, Waymo and Aurora say self-driving trucks would have to be manned, “undermining the efficiency potential of autonomous CMVs.”

Waymo and Aurora did not immediately comment on Tuesday, but said the use of cab-mounted forward and rearward-facing amber flashing lights could serve the safety purpose of the warning device. Stated.

Aurora said in its filing that it has 28 Class 8 trucks equipped with self-driving technology and human operators who can drive the vehicles when needed, operating primarily on public roads in Texas. rice field.

In its request, Waymo said it has 48 Class 8 trucks with self-driving systems that operate with human operators on board who can drive the vehicles when needed.

Legislation to accelerate the deployment of self-driving cars and ease the hurdles has stalled in Congress for more than five years. The bill to promote self-driving cars approved by the US House of Representatives in 2017 applied to vehicles under £10,000, but not to heavy commercial trucks. Union opposes Waymo, Aurora driverless truck exemption.

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