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Waymo Sues State DMV To Keep Robotaxi Safety Details Secret

Friday January 28, 2022. 09:20 PM , from Slashdot
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the Los Angeles Times: Waymo, the driverless car company operating an autonomous taxi fleet in San Francisco, is suing the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The immediate issue: whether the company, owned by Google parent Alphabet, can hide from the public safety-related information by designating it as a trade secret. The topics Waymo wants to keep hidden include how it plans to handle driverless car emergencies, what it would do if a robot taxi started driving itself where it wasn't supposed to go, and what constraints there are on the car's ability to traverse San Francisco's tunnels, tight curves and steep hills. Waymo also wants to keep secret descriptions of crashes involving its driverless cars.

That's among the information the DMV requires to determine whether to issue permits to deploy robot vehicles on public roads. The permit was issued last year. Waymo is focusing on San Francisco, where, for the time being, its robotaxis operate under the supervision of trained human drivers. The wider issue: how to handle the explosion in trade secret claims in an age of artificial intelligence, robot technology, the internet of things and pervasive data collection. The lawsuit, filed in Sacramento County Superior Court on Jan. 21, contends that Waymo would lose out against other driverless car companies if full permit information were shared with the public. 'Every autonomous vehicle company has an obligation to demonstrate the safety of its technology, which is why we've transparently and consistently shared data on our safety readiness with the public,' Waymo spokesperson Nicholas Smith said via email when asked about the suit. 'We will continue to work with the CA DMV to determine what is appropriate for us to share publicly and hope to find a resolution soon.'

Where the DMV stands on the issue remains unclear. The agency has yet to file a response to the suit and told The Times it won't discuss ongoing legal matters.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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