Uber just went ahead and started using self-driving cars a couple of regions, including San Francisco. These special Volvos have a “safety driver” behind the wheel to watch for errors, but they are 100% self-driving.
The clash is that California says Uber needs a special testing permit. Uber says they don’t because of the presence of the safety pilot.
The California DMV encourages the responsible exploration of self-driving cars. We have a permitting process in place to ensure public safety as this technology is being tested. Twenty manufacturers have already obtained permits to test hundreds of cars on California roads. Uber shall do the same.[/quote]
Finally, we understand that there is a debate over whether or not we need a testing permit to launch self-driving Ubers in San Francisco. We have looked at this issue carefully and we don’t believe we do. Before you think, “there they go again” let us take a moment to explain:
First, we are not planning to operate any differently than in Pittsburgh, where our pilot has been running successfully for several months. Second, the rules apply to cars that can drive without someone controlling or monitoring them. For us, it’s still early days and our cars are not yet ready to drive without a person monitoring them.
But there is a more fundamental point—how and when companies should be able to engineer and operate self-driving technology. We have seen different approaches to this question. Most states see the potential benefits, especially when it comes to road safety. And several cities and states have recognized that complex rules and requirements could have the unintended consequence of slowing innovation. Pittsburgh, Arizona, Nevada and Florida in particular have been leaders in this way, and by doing so have made clear that they are pro technology. Our hope is that California, our home state and a leader in much of the world’s dynamism, will take a similar view.[/quote]
In the middle of this, pedestrians and other drivers are seeing stuff like this:
That’s an Uber self-driving Volvo shooting through the red light. Uber, of course, says that’s “driver error” because the safety person didn’t catch the robot’s error.