Uber have once again defied authorities by testing ‘self driving’ vehicles in San Francisco, California, without a permit. Permits have been given to other companies such as Ford, Google, Tesla and General Motors, but not Uber.
Uber have claimed that they don’t need this permit because although the vehicles are fitted with self-driving technology there will still be an operator at the wheel.
Uber’s testing of autonomous vehicles began in Pittsburgh last September and has now moved to the state of California to test the vehicles. Uber say they are now ready and have enough data to test autonomous vehicles in a city with the diversity of San Fransisco.
The head of the advanced technology section of Uber, Anthony Levandowski, in a statement last Friday said that “We have looked at this issue carefully and don’t believe we do [need a permit].”
He goes on to say “The regulations apply to “autonomous vehicles”. And autonomous vehicles are defined as cars equipped with technology that can — and I quote — “drive a vehicle without the active physical control or monitoring by a human operator.” But the self-driving Ubers that we have in both San Francisco and Pittsburgh today are not capable of driving “without … active physical control or monitoring”.”
The end goal of this testing is obviously to bring into the industry a pick up and drop off service without the need for a driver, although at present the cars still need monitory and ‘active physical control’. Currently Uber are testing a number of Volvo XC90 SUVs with self-driving technology.
Anthony Levandowski says that safety is Uber’s top priority and that they have only brought the vehicles to Pittsburgh and San Fransisco after extensive testing. We’ll keep you up to date on the legal issues and progress of Uber’s self-driving vehicles.
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