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California plans support for autonomous taxis without backup drivers

The fallout from the fatal crash on March 18th when an Uber self-driving car killed a pedestrian has naturally led rival taxi groups developing autonomous fleets both to exploit the situation commercially and to divert blame from the industry as a whole. It looks like they may be successful on both counts given that Uber has suspended its autonomous driving development program indefinitely, while the industry as a whole received a boost when California’s public utility regulator issued a proposal that would allow self-driving car companies to transport passengers without need for a backup driver in the vehicle. This would obviously greatly reduce costs, which is one of the whole points of autonomous driving for taxi companies, while freeing up…

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