General Motors and Silicon Valley are increasingly at odds over state legislation that seems to protect the mega-automaker while putting tech companies at a disadvantage. Most recently, a bill introduced in the Illinois legislature would limit access to self-driving taxis to companies that make their own vehicles.
Illinois state Rep. Michael Zalewski drafted a bill that would shut tech companies like Uber out of the self-driving taxi business and funnel all of those opportunities to automakers like GM.
This has renewed the complaint that GM might be using its might to write the rules of self-driving in a way that would serve itself rather than the industry. Last year, GM supported a bill in Indiana that would have prevented Tesla from opening stores in that state.
GM denies the claims and says that the decisions on bills are ultimately up to lawmakers. It noted that it had last week met with people from Uber and Waymo – Google’s self-driving project – to discuss language that all three can support.
Waymo has already logged more than 2.5 million miles of testing on its self-driving cars and thus has a vested interested in staying in the self-driving game. Michigan’s version of the SAVE (Safe Autonomous Vehicle) Act originally excluded tech companies from participating. However, after outcries from Google, the language was ultimately amended. At least 10 other states are considering similar bills that have similar exclusions of tech companies.