LA bans ‘carhomers,’ people who live in self-driving cars; Tesla files injunction

mercedes self-driving car interior

‘Carhomers’ is chapter 26 of Insights from the Future, a book I’m writing about technology, innovation, and people … from the perspective of the future. THIS IS NOT NEWS; IT IS A PROJECTION OF FUTURE NEWS. Subscribe to my newsletter to keep in touch and get notified when the book publishes.

December 23, 2025

Los Angeles County has banned self-driving cars from its district, citing overflow conditions on streets, parking lots, parks, and beaches as a result of an influx of carhomers.

“These people come and go, contribute nothing to the local economy, and take up precious resources,” Franklin Delorean, one of five members of the county board of supervisors, said in a statement. “We want them out.”

‘Carhomers’ is the unofficial name for an emerging segment of people who live in their self-driving vehicles. They’re not poor — many are employed in the tech sector and earn enough to purchase expensive cars — but they’ve embraced a nomadic lifestyle enabled by full self-driving vehicles. Many of those vehicles are extensively modified with makeshift bedrooms and even bathrooms, and carhomers use them to incessantly travel. Many will sleep overnight while their autonomous car drives them to a new city or attraction. Then they might work for part of the day on a laptop, and afterwards  enjoy the beaches, parks, or other attractions of whatever city they’re in.

Sleeping or living in your car is already against city ordinances in much of LA, although it’s rampant as poverty has skyrocketed and rents are still high. But carhomers present a different problem: a “nomadic herd” as one city official put it, that travels in packs and can overwhelm local resources.

The key issue: popular destinations with good weather and top-notch amenities get disproportionate numbers of carhomers who might have been born in cold-weather locations such as Minnesota or Kansas. Essentially, they’re looking to escape winter weather in what used to be home.

The result, according to Los Angeles officials, is a 35% increase in traffic and usage at some of the city’s best beaches and parks. And, of course, a lack of parking.

“Parking is already tough here,” city resident Jaclyn Harrison told me. “These carhomers will take a parking spot for days or weeks at a time. They wait for a spot and then never leave, so locals can’t really enjoy their own city.”

In response, county and city officials are working together to build no-go zones for Google Maps, Apple Maps, and automotive manufacturer’s independent mapping systems, such as Tesla’s own mapping software. The idea is that self-driving cars won’t be permitted to access them, perhaps at certain times, or perhaps at all.

Essentially, the plan is to erect an electronic blockade.

Which is not going over well with carhomers. Or one automotive company at the forefront of the self-driving car industry.

Tesla says that putting restrictions on carhomers by blocking self-driving vehicles is missing the point. County and city residents, after all, are just as likely to have autonomous vehicles and be using them to get to work or travel around their hometown.

“We’re all for cities protecting their quality of life, but they could easily set up regulations regarding parking usage or street utilization that would protect LA from congestion without slamming the breaks on technological progress,” a Tesla representative says.

As for the carhomers themselves, they’re not too worried.

“Look … we have thousands of places to go, and our cars will drive us there overnight while we sleep. I could be in San Diego tomorrow, or Seattle,” one who decline to provide her name said yesterday. “And if the west coast starts to suck, Florida is open. Or any of the southern states that still have nice weather right now.”

Others disputed the county’s claim that carhomers don’t contribute to the local economy.

“I don’t eat? I don’t grab a coffee? I don’t rent a surfboard and wetsuit,” another car homer who said she worked at Google told me. “We put plenty into this economy, and if it doesn’t want us, there are plenty of other cities that will open their arms.

Tesla has filed an injunction against the county ordinance, and the issue is now before the courts.

Again, this is a chapter of Insights from the Future, a book I’m writing about technology, innovation, and people … from the perspective of the future. Subscribe to my newsletter to keep in touch and get notified when the book publishes.

 


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