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Uber Pulls Self-Driving Cars from San Francisco Streets

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【Summary】California has strict rules regarding self-driving cars, including rules against unsupervised testing and the use of self-driving cars in a commercial ride-sharing fleet.

Original Timothy Healey    Dec 23, 2016 8:00 AM PT
Uber Pulls Self-Driving Cars from San Francisco Streets

Last week, Uber announced it was bringing its pilot program for self-driving cars to San Francisco. This week, it's pulling out of that market.

California has strict rules regarding self-driving cars, including rules against unsupervised testing and the use of self-driving cars in a commercial ride-sharing fleet. However, Uber said their cars weren't fully autonomous since engineers were at the helm and keeping their hands on the wheel even when the car was in self-driving mode.

However, the California DMV has revoked the registrations of the 16 Uber self-driving cars, saying they were "improperly issued." That's after the state told Uber to take the cars off the road because the company didn't have a permit for self-driving vehicles. According to Uber, it didn't need the permit because it had human engineers in a supervisory role.

"We have stopped our self-driving pilot in California as the DMV has revoked the registrations for our self-driving cars," an Uber spokesperson told Buzzfeed. "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."

An Uber self-driving car was caught on video running a red light during the short run of the program, but Uber claimed it was human error by a human driver and that while the car was modified for self-driving, it wasn't part of the pilot program.

"This incident was due to human error," an Uber spokesperson told Buzzfeed. "This is why we believe so much in making the roads safer by building self-driving Ubers. This vehicle was not part of the pilot and was not carrying customers. The driver involved has been suspended while we continue to investigate."

Either way, Uber is out of the self-driving ride-share business in California, at least for now.


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