Listen: Self-driving cars are racing self-driving regulations to the streets
"This. Marketplace podcast is brought to you by Colgate. University now in its bicentennial year. Colgate university is celebrating a proud tradition of intellectual rigor at it's beautiful campus in central New York. Learn more at Colgate dot EDU. Self driving cars are racing self-driving regulation to the streets from American public media. This is marketplace tech demystifying the digital economy. I'm Molly would. Earlier this week Google self driving car spinoff, Waymo launched a commercial self driving taxi service in the Phoenix area. It's limited. But it is technically a public launch not just testing. And this is actually a case where the tech moved faster than the laws. Proposed federal rules for regulating self-driving cars called the ABC. Start Act have been stuck in neutral for about a year. But this week senators updated the language in the Bill. They're even considering attaching it to the must pass budget legislation that congress will decide on before the end of the year. Arjan Marshall covers autonomous vehicles for wired magazine, we called her for quality assurance the segment where we take a deeper look at big tech story. She told me the legislation is about trying to establish responsibility and liability for self driving cars, a big part of this legislation is trying to define what part of self driving car. Regulation is going to be. In the hands of the federal government, the department of transportation, and what part of it is in the hands of the states and cities that will actually have these things on their roads. But that's a big controversial in itself. Right. I mean with this legislation supersede the state laws. Yeah. It's definitely controversial. So so the way it's been explained to me, thus far is everything the bumper to bumper car that means the design and the performance of the vehicle is all up to the federal government. And that's actually the way it works for normal cars now, they're making sure that your Toyota isn't going to kill you. And if they discover a defect they're going to create a recall so that Toyota to come in and fix that. What's left up to the states and the local municipalities are the traffic laws licensing and registration. Just like you. And I have to go to the DMV autonomous vehicles might have to go to the DMV in certain states in and get their license there. So that's the way it's kind of. Breaking down at this point. But this is just the start. This Bill is not meant to be the final word on self driving car regulation. They're just trying to kind of lay the groundwork as this technology develops. So is there any sense than of what happens now is is this Bill likely to pass if it gets attached to the must pass bending fill. There are still definitely some particularly democratic Senator holdouts who really just don't like the way this Bill is handling safety. They wanna firmer federal oversight of self driving car technology. So they're not gonna vote for this Bill that said if it does get attached to a bigger spending Bill that has to pass. So that the government doesn't shutdown is going to be hard to justify not voting for it. Just based on this tiny little self driving car part. I'd say most of the industry is really happy with this Bill. I'm hearing a lot of optimism out of Washington. But it's definitely not a done deal yet. And then this is sort of unrelated. But as we're of course, about to talk to you we saw that lift announced. That it's going to IPO. Do you have a sense based on your past coverage? How important autonomous cars are going to be to the future of companies like lift they think they're going to be really important a company like Lifton, Uber could be so much more profitable. If they didn't have to deal with those pesky human drivers that they spent so much time trying to recruit trying to keep happy. So these companies think that some and cars are really important, and they're both pouring a lot of money into into this big technological problem. It's a big open question when this technology will be ready to go out on roads in most cities. But it's it's something they're very interested. In Arjan Marshall covers autonomous vehicles for wired magazine. And now for some related links more on lift for a second. That company has had a very different approach to self driving cars than Uber, which has been trying to create its own technology in house lift partners with just about anybody letting Ford GM and Waymo all tests their self driving cars on its network and in March of this year lift made a deal with Magna international to create driverless tech. There's a good story on all this from March in the New York Times, I put that link on our website marketplace, tech dot org. But now that lift has beaten Uber to the IPO starting line. I can't stop with the puns expect a lot of discussion of the differences in the two companies and how they approached the self-driving market both of them believe that driverless cars are the key to their future business. Butt lifts approach might just be cheaper. And faster in the long run. That said way MOS new commercial service will compete directly with both Uber and lift so success is far from assured. And just an update from the world of fortnight. We talk back in October about how fortnight has borrowed liberally from artists and rappers in creating its popular emotes those little dances that players can buy for five bucks. A piece we interviewed a lawyer and a former dancer who walked us through what it takes to actually copyright a dance move. She told us it could be a high bar to clear, but lawyers for the rapper to Millie are going to try to jump that bar. He sued the makers of fortnight on Wednesday. He alleges epoch games took his Milly rock dance and renamed it swipe it in fort night. There's a link to the story about the lawsuit and our interview on marketplace tech on the website to I'm Ali would. And this is marketplace tech. This is APN. Listeners like you who give to marketplace do more than just keep us on the air. You help us grow and get better. 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