Uber halts self-driving car tests, DMV revoked registration

JC Torres - Dec 21, 2016, 8:10pm CST
Uber halts self-driving car tests, DMV revoked registration

The first chapter of Uber‘s tussle with California authorities has come to a close, and it did not end favorably for the ride-hailing service company. Pending an official statement, Uber has said that it has put the brakes on its self-driving pilot run in the state. It still probably contends that its cars don’t legally require Uber to ask for a permit. But it really has no other choice as the California Department of Motor Vehicles supposedly revoked the registrations of the 16 cars in issue, effectively taking off public roads.

It is admittedly an amusing drama to watch. Considering how companies larger and, perhaps wiser, than it have already been on the hot seat for self-driving cars, you’d think Uber would tread lightly on the issue. Instead, it stubbornly refused to even admit it needed a permit to run the tests on public road, earning the ire of government agencies and some vehicular safety advocates as well.

At the heart of Uber’s argument is the grey legal area surrounding self-driving cars. The California DMV requires companies testing autonomous vehicles to obtain a permit before rolling out on public highways. Uber insists that its pilot cars don’t fall under that statute, as it requires a human driver to still be behind the wheel, even if the cars themselves drive off on their own. The DMV obviously begs to differ.

Complicating matters is the actual safety performance of Uber’s first test run. Uber’s cars were observed to either beat red lights or ignore bike safety regulations. The latter is something Uber was allegedly aware of but still decided to proceed anyway.

For now, the arguments might be moot. Seeing that Uber isn’t going to back down on its position, the California DMV instead revoked the registrations of the cars used in the test run. It says that the registrations were improperly issued because said cars were not marked as test vehicles. Long story short, they are legally not allowed on the road, self-driving or otherwise.

VIA: @Tim Bradshaw

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