AI News, California's Fight with Uber's Self-Driving Car

California's Fight with Uber's Self-Driving Car

Update, 22 December: Following threats of legal action by California regulators, Uber has suspended its self-driving car tests in San Francisco.

The DMV’s Deputy Director and Chief Counsel Brian Soublet wrote to Uber, saying, “It is illegal for the company to operate its self-driving vehicles on public roads until it receives an autonomous vehicle testing permit.” California insists on permits because they ensure trained personnel are in charge of the vehicles, require a $5 million bond in case things should go wrong, and include a system of reporting accidents and failures of the autonomous technology.

“It’s a perfectly plausible reading [of the law] to say it’s an advanced driver assistance system and it is not intended to replace the driver,” says Bryant Walker Smith, an associate professor at the University of South Carolina.

And if you’re a company that’s already irritating the state, you’re asking for a more restrictive interpretation.” Uber definitely has a reputation for being an irritant in California, where it has argued with authorities about criminal background checks for drivers, and whether drivers should be treated as contractors ineligible for employee benefits.

In his letter to Uber, Brian Soublet wrote: “If Uber does not confirm immediately that it will stop its launch and seek a testing permit, DMV will initiate legal action, including, but not limited to, seeking injunctive relief.” As of Friday, the California DMV had not received a response from Uber.

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