California on Uber's Self-Driving Cars: Um, No

State says company doesn't have proper test permits
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 22, 2016 7:38 AM CST
California Stops Uber's Self-Driving Cars
An Uber driverless car is displayed in a garage in San Francisco.   (Eric Risberg)

California has put the brakes on Uber's weeklong experiment with self-driving cars on the streets of San Francisco. Regulators revoked the registrations of the vehicles Uber had been using on its hometown roads after the failure of a week of talks between the state and the ride-hailing company, reports the AP. Hours after Uber launched the service last Wednesday, the state's Department of Motor Vehicles threatened legal action. The cars need the same special permit as the 20 other companies testing self-driving technology in California, regulators argued.

Uber maintains it does not need a permit because the cars are not sophisticated enough to continuously drive themselves, although the company promotes them as "self-driving." The DMV said the registrations for the vehicles were improperly issued because they were not properly marked as test vehicles. It invited Uber to seek a permit so their vehicles could operate legally in California—an offer the company said it did not plan to accept. Uber says in a statement that it was looking for where it could redeploy the cars but remained committed to California and would redouble its efforts "to develop workable statewide rules." (More Uber stories.)

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