Futurism News

Post regulatory haggle, Uber’s self-driving cars ditch California in favor of Arizona

Uber

Just yesterday, the California DMV completely shunned support for Uber’s self-driving vehicles due to permit registration issues. But, as the ride-hailing giant had mentioned that a minor blow like this wouldn’t deter them from continuing their public trials. This dedication is now being shown by the loaded Otto trucks which are carrying the self-driving vehicles out of California.

Yes, within a day, Uber has courted support from Arizona to continue its public self-driving trials. The company on Thursday announced it’s planning to relaunch the self-driving cab aggregation service in Phoenix sometime early next year. In a statement, a company spokesperson has expressed gratitude towards Arizona’s Governor Doug Ducey support towards experimentation of next-gen innovative technologies. It further added,

Our cars departed for Arizona this morning by truck. We’ll be expanding our self-driving pilot there in the next few weeks, and we’re excited to have the support of Governor Ducey.

For those unaware of the specifics, Uber initially launched public trials for its self-driving vehicles in Pittsburgh (where it was developing its technology). It had just recently expanded the scope of its autonomous trials to San Francisco but had to face the wrath of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in California. The authorities met with Uber’s officials at the General Attorney’s office and canceled registrations for its 16-vehicles self-driving fleet due to lack of appropriate permits. Thus, the public trials in the city were crippled.

Where there’s a will, there’s (surely) a way is a saying well-known to everyone. To come up with the decision to move public trials to Arizona in just one day’s time seems unexpected but well-timed. There is a vague possibility that Uber had been looking to tap the said state next for the expansion of its self-driving vehicle fleet. Post the closure of Uber’s autonomous tests in San Francisco, Ducey sent out tweets in favor of the company and invited them to bring their technology to his state.

With self-driving technology becoming more advanced and intuitive each day, there is the possibility of the same becoming ubiquitous over the next five years. And Arizona is playing an important part in its development by allowing automobile and tech behemoth to conduct trials in the state. It isn’t new to the technology and is already seeing Google’s Waymo and General Motors conduct trials for their own vehicles as well. In an official statement released by the Governer’s office, Ducey states,

Arizona welcomes Uber self-driving cars with open arms and wide open roads. While California puts the brakes on innovation and change with more bureaucracy and more regulation, Arizona is paving the way for new technology and new businesses.

Though we agree that the company’s self-driving vehicles are far from perfect and had been committing certain traffic violations around the state, it is a loss on California’s part. There have also been allegations of the autonomous software not playing well with bike lanes, which the company is aware of and will be fixing through an update soon. Arizona isn’t expected to pose a regulatory hurdle for Uber’s public trials for their autonomous vehicles.


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