In Washington, a campaign to undermine California’s authority over driverless cars

As autonomous-car companies unveil their test vehicles on city streets, they are also unleashing their lobbyists on Congress with an urgent mission: Keep California regulators at bay.

The prospect of California writing the rules of the driverless road does not sit well with auto firms. California’s outsized influence over car companies — most notably the state’s sway over air pollution and fuel economy rules — has been a source of consternation for the auto industry for decades. The regulatory muscle the state has used to force manufacturers to adopt new technologies is a long-running point of industry agitation.