TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – May 3, 2019 – The Florida Legislature passed a bill legalizing the use of self-driving cars statewide. The bill also stipulates that Florida residents will be allowed to hire self-driving cars through, ahem, some digital phone apps.
Naturally, Uber – which could save gobs of money by replacing human drivers with robots – is quite pleased. The company released a statement thanking Florida lawmakers for their work. The bill now awaits Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signature.
“On behalf of Uber, we thank the Florida Legislature and their leadership in helping Florida continue to be a leader in welcoming self-driving technology,” Stephanie Smith, Uber’s senior policy manager, said in a media release. “This measure provides direction on the roles of state and local government and authorization for the deployment of automated vehicles on a ridesharing network. These provisions establish a clear pathway to bring the benefits of automation to our state.”
State records show four Uber lobbyists met with state representatives on the House version of the bill, HB 311.
The passage raises some obvious red flags for those who make a living driving cars for Uber and Lyft, however. Rideshare drivers for years have feared the companies would one day replace human workers with automated cars. Today’s bill clears the way for that reality in Florida.
Source: © Copyright 2019 Broward-Palm Beach New Times, Jerry Iannelli. All rights reserved.