Finally! Uber has received a permit which now allows its self-driving cars to take to the roads in the state of California. The permit means that the Californian public may soon see driver-less cars toting around on public roads. Indeed, some of them may even be called upon to pick up passengers using the Uber platform sometime in the future.
This isn’t exactly the first time that Uber’s self-driving cars will take to the roads in California. The company had chosen San Fransisco for the launch of a pilot of its self-driving Volvo XC90 SUVs last year. However, the company had to pack up and shift to Arizona after California’s Department of Motor Vehicles — who was already feeling snubbed because Uber hadn’t bothered to secure a testing permit prior to launch — canceled the registration on the cab aggregator’s vehicles.
Uber had since then been working in conjunction with the DMV to get its cars back on the road, and it appears as if its efforts have finally received a measure of success. However, the permits are still quite limited in how and where the cars are to be operated.
For instance, Uber’s self-driving car deployment will be limited to two of the XC90s and folks won’t be able to hitch a ride in them from the company’s cab hailing platform. Instead, 48 specifically named drivers are the only ones who have been deemed as able to drive the cars. The conditions do not expressly state that Uber can not use its cars to participate in passenger pickups. However, the company has professed that it is going to stay away from that particular area for the time being.
Let’s hope Uber’s run goes off more smoothly this time around. The last time the company had its cars driving around on SF roads, one of its autonomous vehicles was said to have broken a red light. While Uber had said that the car was human-driven at the time, most evidence had pointed to the contrary.