General Motors, among others, is pushing along a new law called the SAVe Act that's aimed directly at entities like Uber and Waymo, which would limit the testing of fully driverless cars to established automakers, and Waymo CEO John Krafcik is among the people who are speaking out against it. Waymo put out an official statement saying that the bill is strictly "anti-competitive," and that it will elevate established players in the auto market while bringing potentially lifesaving driverless vehicle technology out to consumers slower than it would otherwise roll out. The controversial act has made its way into law in Michigan, but with some language changes that included companies building self-driving technology. The bill is currently being considered with its original language in Georgia, Maryland, Illinois, and Tennessee.
Waymo and Uber aren't the only players affected, and are certainly not the only ones speaking out in one direction or the other. Audi of America's director of government affairs Brad Stertz called the bill a "bad idea," mentioning that stifling competition can only have negative consequences. Harry Lightsey, a member of GM's federal affairs team, noted that the point of the law is not to stifle competition, but to ensure that the technology is eased out the door by trusted entities, keeping the public from rejecting it as a knee-jerk reaction. It should be noted that the bill was originally drafted up in collaboration between GM and Michigan lawmakers.
Government figures, for their part, all have varying viewpoints on the particulars of the law, but all seem to agree that the area of self-driving vehicles is in need of legislation that will help to ensure public safety while having minimal effect on the march of technological advancement in the space. William Lamberth, a state representative for Tennessee, said that he supports the bill as a way to explore what is safe for his constituents as the technology makes its way out. Illinois state rep Mike Zalewski, meanwhile, supports the bill as an easy way to define driverless vehicles and create a basic legal framework around them to aid in the creation of more varied and specific laws in the future.