Uber Really Wants To Test Self-Driving Cars In San Francisco, Finally Follows California DMV Rules


Uber has had a shaky relationship with California's Department of Motor Vehicles, with the disagreement resulting in the ride-hailing service transferring its self-driving testing program from San Francisco to Tempe, Arizona.

However, it seems that Uber is now looking to make up with the regulator, as the company looks to bring back its self-driving vehicles into San Francisco.

The History Between Uber And The California DMV

Uber rolled out self-driving vehicles for testing on the roads of San Francisco in December of last year, following the successful launch of a similar program in Pittsburgh. The vehicles were modified versions of the Volvo XC90 that were outfitted with Uber's self-driving technology.

However, the California DMV did not approve of Uber's program and required the company to apply for the necessary permit to test self-driving vehicles in the state. Uber argued that it did not need to file an application for the $150 permit because each modified Volvo XC90 had a pair of technicians, with one in the driver's seat who would be able to take control of the vehicle if something went wrong.

Uber stubbornly defied the order of the California DMV to apply for the permit and continued testing its self-driving vehicles in San Francisco. The regulator, however, had the final say in the matter, as it revoked the registration of all the self-driving vehicles that Uber was testing. As the modified Volvo XC90s were not properly marked as test vehicles for self-driving technology, the California pulled out their registration, forcing Uber to stop the program.

After the California DMV forced Uber to pull out from San Francisco, the company then decided to move its testing program to the state of Arizona, with Gov. Doug Ducey even joining the squabble between California and Uber by inviting Uber to test its self-driving cars in his state.

Last week, Uber restarted its self-driving vehicle testing program in the city of Tempe, with Gov. Ducey among its first passengers. However, despite what happened, it seems that Uber really wants to test its technology in California.

Uber Now Willing To Follow The Rules

After the whole debacle, Uber has now apparently changed its mind on applying for the permits being required by the California DMV to be able to test self-driving cars in San Francisco.

Uber will now be following the rules set by the regulator, following the footsteps of over 20 other companies that have been allowed to test self-driving technology in the state such as Google, Tesla, Ford, BMW, and Honda.

"We are taking steps to complete our application to apply for a DMV testing permit," wrote a spokeswoman for Uber in an e-mail. According to the California DMV, Uber has not yet submitted its application, but it is providing assistance to the company for securing the permit.

With the low cost of the permit and the apparent ease to apply for it, it remains unclear why Uber stubbornly refused to do so in the past. Whatever the reason, the company is now preparing a new fleet of self-driving vehicles to be rolled out to San Francisco once the permit application is accepted.

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