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Uber Ends Self-Driving Pilot in San Francisco

December 22, 2016

Photo courtesy of Volvo.
Photo courtesy of Volvo.

Uber will end its self-driving pilot program in San Francisco after a meeting with the California DMV and the attorney general’s office. The DMV revoked the registration on the 16 self-driving test vehicles Uber was using in the pilot. 

Uber will now move its self-driving vehicles to Arizona for the pilot program. 

"Arizona welcomes Uber self-driving cars with open arms and wide open roads," said Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. "While California puts the brakes on innovation and change with more bureaucracy and more regulation, Arizona is paving the way for new technology and new businesses. In 2015, I signed an executive order supporting the testing and operation of self-driving cars in Arizona with an emphasis on innvoation, economic growth, and most importantly, public safety."

The California DMV issued this statement: “The California DMV encourages the responsible exploration of self-driving cars. We have a permitting process in place to ensure public safety as this technology is being tested. Twenty manufacturers have already obtained permits to test hundreds of cars on California roads. Uber shall do the same.”

Uber decided to not pursue this permitting process because it claims that its cars aren’t considered autonomous since they can’t operate completely autonomously at this stage.

“We respectfully disagree with the California Department of Motor Vehicles legal interpretation of today’s autonomous regulations, in particular that Uber needs a testing permit to operate its self-driving cars in San Francisco,” Anthony Levandowski , Uber’s vice president of engineering, posted on the Uber website. “The regulations apply to ‘autonomous vehicles.’ And autonomous vehicles are defined as cars equipped with technology that can drive a vehicle without the active physical control or monitoring by a human operator. But the self-driving Ubers are not capable of driving without active physical control or monitoring.”

"We are pleased to hear that the DMV took enforcement action, which I strongly supported; consequently, Uber has removed its unpermitted self-driving vehicles from San Francisco’s streets," said San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee."I have always been a strong supporter of innovation and autonomous vehicle development and testing, but only under conditions that put human, bicyclist, and pedestrian safety first. San Francisco will continue to work with innovative companies while working with state legislators and agencies to keep our residents safe."

Uber had started to offer self-driving Volvo XC90 luxury SUVs to customers in San Francisco. This expanded its partnership with Volvo that launched in August to provide self-driving vehicles in Pittsburgh.

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