Why San Francisco turned away the Self-Driving Cars from Uber

Self-driving and semi-autonomous cars have become the trending topic in the automotive industry. Being the newest and latest technology in the industry, every state and country want to have the cars on their roads. However, the California DMV turned away some of the autonomous cars after their operating company violated some laws.

Failure to comply with the registration requirements

In California and in almost every state, all cars should be registered. Firms operating self-driving cars should obtain a permit to allow them to operate on the streets of San Francisco. Uber’s operation in the city was discontinued after the firm failed to obtain full registration for their fleet of cars. This tech company claimed that their cars are not fully autonomous.

Autonomous cars are registered so that when an accident occurs, the owner can report it. Uber, however, wants to avoid accidents. Therefore, they declined to obtain the necessary registration and permits. As a result, the DMV revoked the registration of the 16 Uber cars that were on the streets of San Francisco. It is important to note that the process of obtaining a registration takes less than 72 hours, which means this was on Uber for refusing to comply.

Concerns that the autonomous cars were not ready for the streets

People worried that their safety on the roads was jeopardized by these cars. For instance, the executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Brian Wiedenmeir, claimed to have seen an uber car make an illegal turn on a bicycle lane. Uber replied to these concerns by reaffirming that the car’s’ presence on the roads didn’t make the roads unsafe and that the car’s’ technology could recognize people on bicycles.

Uber made a statement saying they were working on improving the software to the car’s unsafe right hook. They further said that the problem had been fixed operationally meaning that an operator would have to take over the car’s control whenever the car was making the turn.

Violation of traffic laws

A video also recently surfaced showing an Uber car ignoring a red light around the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The people who witnessed the incident claimed that the car had a driver on the driver’s seat, although his hands were not on the wheel. The incident raised concerns among many people in San Francisco because the car could have hit someone by violating one of the most basic traffic rules.

Uber defended its autonomous car arguing that the error emanated from decisions made by the driver. This incident only proved that even when an autonomous car has a driver in it, accidents can still happen. The San Francisco DMV was commended by Mayor Ed Lee for taking action against Uber.

Uber welcomed in Arizona

After pulling out of California, Uber decided to move its fleet to Arizona. The Arizona Governor Doug Ducey was more than happy to welcome the firm to his state. He said that in Arizona, Uber will not require any permit to deploy its fleet in the streets.

Most states are eager to obtain these cars given that the technology of autonomous cars is close to being perfect. This means that the occurrence of road accidents will drop significantly. It may also mean that we are likely to witness a reduction in the Arizona’s cost of insurance if the roads prove to be safer with autonomous cars than they were with human drivers.

The traffic laws in California may be strict, but they haven’t stopped other companies manufacturing self-driving cars from operating in its streets. Considering the market potential of California, the firm may eventually come to terms with the state laws and deploy its fleet there. After all, the only requirement for operating in the state is that the testing of self-driving cars won’t cause any harm to people of San Francisco. The city’s mayor reiterated that he supports the program fully as long as it keeps everyone safe.


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About the Author: Robert Cordray is a freelance writer and expert in business and finance. With over 20 years of business experience, Robert is now retired and hopes others can benefit from his writing.

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