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Chicago Ald. Burke Puts The Brakes On Self-Driving Cars

Author: Derrick Blakley

(CBS) — Chicago’s most powerful alderman wants to ban self-driving cars.

Why? Because, he believes, they’re dangerous, untested job-killers.

And that’s before they’ve even been introduced here.

CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley has more.

Ald. Ed Burke, 14th Ward, believes Chicago isn’t ready for self-driving cars.

“Any professor in his garage could create a driveless car, put it out on the street, and there’s no law against it,” he says.

It’s not goofy, sci-fi professors behind this trend. It’s GM and Google, Ford and Uber — a host of big car makers and hi-tech giants.

Opponents say a proposed call the ordinance a mistake.

“We would send the wrong signal that Chicago is closed for business when it comes to autonomous vehicles — we don’t want your money that you want to invest in the city, we don’t want the jobs that go with that,” says Michael Reever, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.

But backers of a prohibition see self-driving cars as job killers – and perhaps real killers as well.

Ald. Anthony Beale, 9th Ward, suggests terrorists may be able to manipulate the technology to send bombs into crowds.

State lawmakers have already passed a bill that blocks Chicago from banning driverless cars. But governor Rauner hasn’t signed it.

“If the governor signs the bill on his desk, your hearing today was a moot point, right?” Blakley asks Burke.

“There was a onetime famous ballplayer who said, ‘It ain’t over til the fat lady sings,’” Burke replies.

Supporters of self- driving cars claim they’ll save lives, since computers don’t drive drunk, text while driving or doze off at the wheel. The Transportation Committee tabled the ordinance for now.

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