Automobiles

Published on January 20th, 2017 | by Guest

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Uber Bids Farewell to CA and Hello to AZ

Uber has officially halted testing for its autonomous fleet vehicles within California.

The leader in the on-demand transportation service formally announced via a statement made to press that their cars have departed for Arizona, and that they will be expanding their self-driving pilots there.

The 16 autonomous vehicles being tested on San Francisco streets were loaded, quite aptly, onto the back of an OTTO truck, and began their journey to the company’s home for testing in Arizona. The OTTO manufacturers, themselves are pursuing the goal of creating an autonomous fleet of transport truck as well.

Uber Stands Their Ground on Refusing to Apply for Special Permits

The shift in testing grounds was a direct response to the California Department of Motor Vehicle’s demands that Uber obtain special permits for operating the vehicles on public roadways. California has previously mandated autonomous vehicles receive a special permit to operate on public roads and has forced other companies such as Google to comply as well.

The company refused to appease the department and instead voiced their concern that their vehicles were unlike the other autonomous vehicles being currently tested as they required a driver be present in the car while in operation and were more akin to a Tesla in autopilot mode and less like the specially permitted vehicles of Google.

CA DMV Formally Revokes Uber’s Registration

Though Uber claimed the vehicles were safe to operate and were in full control of a driver, the fleet vehicles were witnessed ignoring traffic signals and speeding through red lights soon after their initial launch. Uber has blamed the incidents on human error as well as faulty programming that had been remedied.

As Uber refused to apply for the permit, California DMV officials took preventative measures to ensure the vehicles would no longer be allowed on the road and revoked all 16 autonomous vehicles’ registration.

Uber Finds New Ally and Home in Arizona

Though the California DMV was less receptive to Uber’s autonomous testing, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey welcomed the tech company with open arms as they shifted towards moving all their autonomous vehicle operations to within the state.

Ducey initially took to Twitter to voice his opinion on the entire affair commenting on the “over-regulation” and even calling for Uber to “#ditchcalifornia.” After Uber has announced the company intended to continue their autonomous vehicle program in Arizona the Governor released a statement that Arizona would welcome the company completely and took a moment to criticize the actions of the California DMV.

The complete benefits of moving the program to Arizona has yet to be seen but with less regulation and the fact that Arizona’s insurance rates are among the lowest in the nation, the company as well as Arizona will surely benefit from the new relationship.

Arizona’s bid to make the state more welcoming to tech companies looking to expand autonomous vehicle programs is simply another state’s attempt at swaying the entire industry into bringing more business and jobs to the state. Michigan itself has pushed forward new regulations allowing the testing of autonomous vehicles opening a path for the automaker giant General Motors to continue operations within their state.

As the industry continues to progress, the allure of housing the next “Silicon Valley” of autonomous vehicles will perhaps have more states following less in California’s footsteps and more so emulating Arizona’s more welcoming stance.

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