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San Francisco Officials Ask Driverless Tech Companies To Give Up Data

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – With San Francisco looking for ways to reduce its enormous traffic problems, city officials are calling on driverless tech companies to provide some GPS data to help address the issue.

City representatives are afraid driverless cars will only add to the already bad traffic situation in San Francisco. And now they want data to find out how much worse things might get.

This comes as state regulators consider allowing a new pilot program that puts passengers into driverless cars.

San Francisco transportation officials are asking the state public utilities commission to mandate driverless car companies share their GPS and trip data with the city.

"We need to know where these vehicles are operating, how they are operating, when vehicles are having hard breaking or making sharp turns or taking turns too fast," said SF County Transportation Authority Jeff Hobson.

Most of the companies wanting to use driverless technology are against this idea, among them Uber and Lyft.

"For ridehail vehicles, we have been asking for that data and they have not generally been particularly forthcoming," said Hobson.

The debate comes at the same time as a new survey by public policy polling shows many people have doubts about driverless cars. The survey was conducted in four states including California.

79 percent of respondents said they are very or somewhat concerned about driverless cars on our streets. 14 percent say they're "a little concerned."

"It's just going to be a big computer driving the whole country," said skeptical SF driver Colin Byrne.

"There should be some human touch to it," said another driver.

The San Francisco County transportation authority says when it comes to regulation, the state has to step up.

"We think it's their responsibility to make sure the public has good data on how these vehicles are operating so that we can maintain safety and manage congestion on the city streets," explained Hobson.

The PUC is set to vote on the pilot program to allow passengers in driverless cars on May 31.

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