Published: Sat, December 24, 2016
Research | By Francis Brooks

Uber Self-Driving Cars Removed From San Francisco

Uber Self-Driving Cars Removed From San Francisco

Uber Technologies Inc., forced to suspend its self-driving auto pilot program in San Francisco after the California Department of Motor Vehicles revoked the registration on the company's vehicles, said Thursday it's moving the pilot to Arizona. Right-hook turns are illegal in California, where drivers must merge as far to the right as possible.

"It was determined that the registrations were improperly issued for these vehicles because they were not properly marked as test vehicles", the DMV said in a statement following a meeting of the agency, Uber and the California attorney general's office.

The DMV says Uber needs an autonomous auto license to test the cars, but Uber contends the cars are little different from Tesla cars with advanced lane-keeping technology.

The report cites a statement that reads: "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".

But Uber says it doesn't need that permit.

Uber has ended its brief driverless vehicle experiment in San Francisco - though not before trying to pull off a bit of corporate gymnastics.

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Gov. Doug Ducey plans to welcome the scheduled arrival Friday of Uber self-driving cars as a self-driving truck transports them to Arizona from California. "This type of technology is commonplace on thousands of cars driving in the Bay Area today, without any DMV permit at all".

Uber previously had 16 self-driving cars registered in California.

"I think he should not be operating his driverless vehicle technology without that permit", Lee said.

According to the spokesperson, the company just didn't agree that the technology required a permit. Uber announced Thursday that it was shipping the self-driving cars to Arizona after they were banned from California roads over safety concerns. But it is staying firm on its stance that the company's driverless cars "must be tested responsibly". The company doesn't even want to them to be employees, even though multiple legal rulings have said Uber drivers are more than just contractors. Since the pilot began on December 14, San Franciscans have flagged several incidents involving the self-driving Ubers, from running red lights to making right turns through bike lanes - even though cars had human operators in them too.

In response to the right-hook-turn allegations, Uber says drivers have been trained to take control in potentially unsafe situations.

Uber's impatience makes some sense: it's building what it believes to be the future, and nothing is more frustrating to those with a clear vision than others who don't share it.

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