Uber Suspends Its Self-Driving Car Test in San Francisco

December 22, 2016, 1:46 AM UTC
Uber launches self-driving pilot in San Francisco with Volvo Cars
Uber launches self-driving pilot in San Francisco with Volvo Cars
Courtesy of Volvo Cars

After a week-long battle with California regulators, Uber is suspending its self-driving car test in San Francisco, the company said on Wednesday.

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

The company’s decision on Wednesday to suspend the program came after it met with representatives from the California Department of Motor Vehicles and the office of the state’s attorney general. Uber began testing those self-driving cars a week ago in San Francisco, but regulators quickly pointed out that the company lacked a DMV permit to test them on public roads.

The DMV sent Uber an order to cease and desist that same day.

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Uber’s immediate response was to argue that its cars don’t fall under the state’s self-driving car definition, as drivers are present in the cars at all times in case they’re needed, and thus the company doesn’t need such a permit. California defines self-driving cars as capable of driving “without … active physical control or monitoring,” as Anthony Levandowski, vice president of Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group, said last week.

Uber first began testing its self-driving cars in Pittsburgh in September and has not faced regulatory problems there.

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