Yee calls for regulation, process for emerging tech

Supervisor Norman Yee is calling on City Administrator Naomi Kelly to convene a working group to come up with recommendations on regulations and a permitting process for emerging technologies.

Some of those new technology devices have recently landed in San Francisco last month in the form of a dockless electric scooter.

In Yee’s resolution, the working group would consist of a broad range of members, including those who work in tech industry, small business owners, labor leaders and representatives from city departments.

Yee said on Wednesday at the Board of Supervisors Rules Committee that he is often impressed with some of the ideas from tech companies, but will to take action if public safety is at risk:

“I will not hesitate to do something when the safety of our residents and our limited public infrastructure is being compromised.”

Yee last year authored legislation to allow autonomous delivery robot companies to use their devices but only in parts of The City designated as production, distribution and repair.

Kelly, who supports the resolution, said the working group must balance the new technology and innovation with safety, fairness, equity, accessibility and efficiency.

She added:

“While that working group thinks through the policy questions, I also do believe we should be concurrently establishing a one-stop shop so emerging technology companies know where to go, how to follow our agreed upon rules and what type of regulations are needed.”

The working group will have six months to come up with recommendations to the Board of Supervisors.

Also in Yee’s resolution are “guiding principles” for emerging technologies that will help guide the working group in crafting its recommendations and for future legislation.

The Rules Committee approved the resolution and now heads to the full Board of Supervisors for a vote on April 17.