December 22, 2016
Uber has yanked its 16-vehicle autonomous fleet off the roads in San Francisco after a skirmish with the California DMV.
“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.”
State regulators stepped in soon after Uber began its autonomous vehicle test on the city’s streets, demanding the company obtain permits. Uber, however, refused to comply, saying it’s vehicles are not fully autonomous and, therefore, the law does not apply to its vehicles.
Anthony Levandowski, who head’s Uber’s advanced technology group, last week said that although California classifies an autonomous vehicle as one with technology that can “drive a vehicle without the active physical control or monitoring by a human operator,” that does not apply to Uber. He said Uber’s vehicles are unable to operate “without…active physical control or monitoring.”
To get Uber’s attention, the DMV finally asked state Attorney General Kamala Harris to send Uber a letter demanding it end its road testing or face legal ramifications.
Uber has said it will look for another location to test drive its vehicles.
The company already has its autonomous vehicles on the road in Pittsburgh, where its Advanced Technologies Center (ATC) is located. The trials, which began in May, use hybrid Ford Fusions outfitted with sensors.
Uber has said a trained driver is always behind the wheel to monitor the technology and take over if necessary.
Uber, in a blog post earlier this year, said it is “focused on getting the technology right and ensuring it’s safe for everyone on the road — pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers.”
Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.