Post a meeting today with the California DMV and Attorney General’s office, Uber has today announced that is momentarily halting the self-driving taxi service in San Francisco. The company was forced to shut down the public test since the DMV had started revoking registrations for the 16 retrofitted hybrid vehicles involved in the tests.
For those unaware, Uber introduced its self-driving cab aggregation service — enabling customers to book an autonomous vehicle — in San Francisco last week. But the ride-hailing giant decided to skip on the $150 permit process because it believes that their self-driving vehicles don’t require one. It even conducted numerous talks with both the local and state government officials in an attempt to convince them that their test vehicles didn’t require any exclusive registration.
However, it seems that California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) isn’t convinced with the statements put forth by Uber. The DMV stated that the tests are illegal and Uber has violated their instructions by continuing the trials after being told to halt them. Also, these cars have recently also been involved in several traffic violations and received criticism over its lack of understanding the policies related to bike lanes. In a statement released on Wednesday, the DMV says,
The registrations were improperly issued for these vehicles because they were not properly marked as test vehicles. The department invited Uber to seek a permit so their vehicles can operate legally in California.
Now, the company isn’t looking to debate over this petty issue anymore. Instead, it is now scouring for a different location to conduct their self-driving public pilot, mentions a spokesperson. He further adds,
We have stopped our self-driving pilot in California as the DMV has revoked the registrations for our self-driving cars. 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.
In the meeting, the attorney general’s office threatened to sue Uber but the DMV took the matter into their discretion and just canceled the licenses of its 16 test vehicles. It instructed the police authorities to remove any and all Uber self-driving vehicles off the streets of California. But this minor setback isn’t deterring Uber from completely halting the self-driving public trials and it is now looking to drum up traction from its customers and launch the service elsewhere.
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