Gavin Newsom is mesmerized by the growth of driverless cars. Other California Democrats, not so much

The article discusses California Governor Gavin Newsom’s enthusiasm for the future of driverless cars and autonomous vehicle technology during his visit to a Tesla gigafactory in China. Newsom expressed excitement about AI advancements and envisioned a transportation system transformed by autonomous vehicles and flying taxis. However, his enthusiasm contrasts sharply with the concerns of fellow Democrats, including city mayors and state lawmakers, who advocate for more oversight and control over the deployment of autonomous vehicles due to safety and regulatory concerns.

The conflict arises as autonomous vehicle companies intensify their lobbying efforts in Sacramento, while incidents like a recent Cruise robotaxi accident in San Francisco fuel skepticism and calls for stricter regulation. Despite Governor Newsom’s commitment to California’s leadership in autonomous technology, criticisms persist regarding the state’s regulatory system and the need for greater safety measures, particularly following incidents involving autonomous vehicles. There’s a growing demand for more comprehensive oversight, potentially leading to legislative actions or hearings in the upcoming sessions.

Newsom’s stance on autonomous vehicles has sparked disagreement, particularly regarding safety regulations, such as his veto of a bill requiring human safety drivers in self-driving big-rig trucks. He defends the existing regulatory system while highlighting the potential of technology and dismissing concerns about its safety.

The article concludes with Newsom’s continued fascination with automotive and aviation innovation, including his experiences with driverless technology, and his optimism about the transformative potential of autonomous vehicles despite ongoing concerns and criticisms from various stakeholders.