Uber Pulls Self-Driving Cars Off San Francisco Streets

Uber caved in and pulled its self-driving cars off the streets of San Francisco yesterday after the California Department of Motor Vehicles revoked the registration of all 16 Volvos used in the company’s autonomous pilot program.

“It was determined that the registrations were improperly issued for these vehicles because they were not properly marked as test vehicles,” the DMV wrote in a letter to Uber on Wednesday.

Now Uber will have to submit to the state’s self-driving vehicle regulations or find a different place to test them not in California.

“We have stopped our self-driving pilot in California as the DMV has revoked the registrations for our self-driving cars,” Uber said in a statement.

“We’re now looking at where we can redeploy these cars but remain 100 percent committed to California and will be redoubling our efforts to develop workable statewide rules.”

As we reported on Monday, the public spat between Uber and the state began last week when just hours after the service was launched, the DMV threated legal action if the ride-hailing company did not stop.

Regulators argued that the cars needed the same special permit as the 20 other companies testing self-driving cars in California, which incudes Ford, Google (now Waymo), Mercedes-Benz and Tesla.

SEE ALSO: Uber Opens Up Self-Driving Car Rides to the General Public in Pittsburgh

Uber drew a line in the sand and stated the state’s law didn’t apply to them becacuse it’s self-driving technology required a human driver to take control if needed, and therefore do not fit California’s definition of an autonomous vehicle.

The company’s stance on complying with regulations is consistant with its past: Ask forgiveness, not permission.

Uber has previously grappled with the authorities in California over safety concerns. And Otto, the self-driving trucking start-up Uber acquired last August, flouted state laws in Nevada earlier this year by operating a truck on roads without a permit.

Operating without a permit gives Uber a competitive advantage in California. Companies with one must report all accidents to the state and every instance in which a person takes control during testing and is made public, the Detroit News reported.

The standoff between Uber and California received wide media attention, partly because on the day Uber stood up to the DMV, a video of a self-driving Uber Volvo running a red light in San Francisco went viral.

Detroit News


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