SAN FRANCISCO – The state DMV, along with the state attorney general, forced Uber to take its robotic cars off the streets of California and cease current state testing for failure to provide current permits. 

"We have stopped our self-driving pilot in California as the DMV has revoked the registrations for our self-driving cars," Chelsea Kohler, spokeswoman for Uber, said.

Reports were made to the state police earlier this month from Consumer Watchdog about the safety hazards the Uber autonomous cars were having against citizens. Its reports explained Uber's cars were not abiding by traffic laws and were a threat to citizen's safety. 

"The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) asked Uber to comply with the law currently in place for the testing of autonomous technology in California," Jessica Gonzalez, assistant deputy director of public affairs with the California DMV, said. "(The department had) several conversations with Uber about their plans to use self-driving cars in San Francisco. They were informed several times that they needed to seek a permit through the DMV. Since Uber would not comply with the law, the DMV revoked the 16 self-driving vehicles they were using in San Francisco."

Since then Uber has not requested a California permit. 

Prior to testing their autonomous cars in California, Uber did not request permits, which is illegal and the owner of cars could potentially be fined.

"We have a permitting process in place to ensure public safety as this technology is being tested," Gonzalez said. "Two years ago, the DMV developed regulations for manufacturer’s testing of autonomous vehicles. The regulations were developed to foster technical innovation and ensure the safety of the motoring public."

This is not the first company California has allowed to test autonomous automobiles.

"Twenty manufacturers have already obtained permits to test hundreds of cars on California roads," Gonzalez said. "The California DMV encourages the responsible exploration of self-driving cars."

For Uber, it has moved its autonomous test cars to Pittsburgh, as noted by Kohler. She made clear that although this situation arose, Uber is "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."

Uber's hometown happens to be California. 

In regards to the Uber's innovation and production of autonomous cars, Kohler stated, "Our pilot is a big step forward. Real-world testing is critical to the success of this technology. And creating a viable alternative to individual car ownership is important to the future of cities."

Uber expects the use of robotic cars to "extend the mobility benefits we’ve already people enjoying thanks to ridesharing, Kohler noted. It also hopes to cut down on the amount of yearly accidents which involve human error, Kohler said. 

"Today, 1.3 million people around the world die in car accidents every year. Ninety-four percent of those accidents involve human error. This is a tragedy technology can help solve."

Uber thinks this type of transportation will be an "important part of the future which we intend to lead," Kohler said. 

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Organizations in this Story

California Attorney General's Office
1515 Clay St
Oakland, CA 94612

Uber Technologies, Inc.
1455 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94103

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