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New York City: Please Test Driverless Cars on Our Chaotic Streets

As if New York City's busy streets aren't chaotic enough, mayor Eric Adams is looking to shake things up with the addition of autonomous vehicles.

"This technology is coming whether we like it or not, so we’re going to make sure that we get it right," Adams wrote in a statement, as spotted by Gothamist.

The city is officially accepting applications for a new "Autonomous Vehicle Demonstration or Testing Permit Program," which will see self-driving vehicles being tested on public streets, albeit with a trained human behind the wheel to intervene if anything goes wrong.

It's a decision that has already been met with an outpouring of criticism that likely won't help rescue Adams' record-low approval rating.

Autonomous vehicles, like the ones being developed by Google-backed Waymo and General Motors' Cruise, have already caused mayhem on the streets of San Francisco. Incidents include blocked emergency vehicles, close calls, major breakdowns — and a horrifying event involving a crushed pedestrian that led to Cruise yanking all of its robotaxis off the roads.

The news also comes after Waymo was cleared to officially launch robotaxi services in Los Angeles, which has already led to plenty of chaos.

In short, critics say autonomous vehicles are the very last thing the busy streets of New York City need.

"It's totally insane," international president of the Transport Workers Union John Samuelsen told Gothamist. "They do whatever they want, whenever they want. These vehicles are not prepared to deal with that type of pedestrian interaction."

"Driverless cars are untested, dangerous technology, and they have no place in New York City," advocacy group Transportation Alternatives executive director Danny Harris told the New York Post. "New Yorkers should not be lab rats for the car industry, which has already killed and injured thousands of our neighbors."

At least, New York City officials are requiring applicants to undergo continuous meetings with the Department of Transportation, as well as the constant exchange of data and safety plans. Companies will also have to stay in touch with the city's police and fire departments to make sure their vehicles don't block first responders.

In the city's press release, Waymo has already hinted at applying for the program, with global head of public policy Michelle Peacock referring to the company's "longstanding relationship with New York City."

It's still unclear when driverless cars will hit the Big Apple, though — or whether the new initiative will help Adams' waning support. The mayor has already garnered a reputation for funding ill-advised ventures, from supporting the New York Police Department deploying dystopian robot dogs and sending in the National Guard to conduct random searches of NYC subway riders to over-relying on unproven and useless AI technologies to solve the city's systemic problems.

The mayor's approval rating has plummeted to a historic low, sinking to just 28 percent according to a recent survey.

By opening up the city's busy streets for the testing of flawed autonomous vehicles, Adams is inviting plenty more chaos that's bound to annoy the hell out of the average New Yorker.

More on autonomous vehicles: Thief Confounded When Trying to Steal Self-Driving Taxi