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Illinois motorcycle group opposed to self-driving cars and upcoming testing

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(The Center Square) – An Illinois motorcycle group is raising a red flag over planned testing of self-driving cars this summer.

Tesla is hiring temporary test drivers around the country, including in Elgin, who will be paid to drive their vehicles and report on their performance.

The automaker has always highlighted data collection from its fleet of millions of vehicles as one of its main advantages in autonomous vehicles. But recently, Tesla seems to be increasingly relying on internal testing.

“We are looking for a highly motivated self-starter to join our vehicle data collection team,” Tesla writes in the job listing. “The Vehicle Operator role is responsible for capturing high quality data that will contribute to the improvement of our vehicles performance. This role requires a high level of flexibility, attention to detail, and ability to work in a fast-paced dynamic environment. Day/night shift positions available.”

ABATE of Illinois said the technology has killed four motorcyclists already, three of whom they say were run over at highway speeds by Tesla vehicles using similar driving modes.

Josh Witkowski, state legislative coordinator and lobbyist for ABATE of Illinois, said the federal government has removed any reference to autonomous vehicles in recently passed highway bills, so it is up to the states to regulate the technology.

“Our lives are not a field test for autonomous vehicles like Tesla, and Illinois must step up to lead in responsible regulation and development of autonomous technology,” said Witkowski in a statement.

When former Gov. Bruce Rauner, an avid motorcyclist, signed an executive order in 2018 creating an autonomous vehicle testing program, ABATE of Illinois rescinded their endorsement.

Witkowski points to a recent AAA study that found that 9% of Americans “trust” self-driving vehicles and 68% are “afraid” of it.

“ABATE of Illinois has been a leader in talking about the dangers of Tesla vehicles in Illinois and nationwide,” said Bob Ellinger, State Coordinator of ABATE of Illinois. “We will continue to fight against technology on the road that has shown to be fatal to riders.”

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