Uber: The Rebels of the Self-Driving Car World
Don’t like governmental regulations? Just ignore them.by Robert Moore, on
Change is inevitable, and while we may not like certain changes, we eventually get used to them and adapt accordingly. One prime example of this is self-driving cars. Right now, we’re at a turning point where self-driving cars are being tested and we, as a society, and learning more about them every day. As the years go on, they’ll get better, and will ultimately be accepted. But, some companies seem to think they can usher in a new evolution of driving without complying with certain mandates. Tesla has been under fire for some time about its process of introducing autonomy but has ultimately complied with regulations. Uber, on the other hand, seems to think that it’s beyond governmental regulation and gives the California DMV and Mayor Ed Lee, a big “F You” when it was told to cease and desist the testing of its self-driving Volvo XC90s.
Like any other company testing higher levels of autonomy on California roadways, Uber has been asked to obtain the proper permits before it can legally test its self-driving vehicles. Uber has failed to do that thus far, and it doesn’t look like it will anytime in the near future. In a recent statement, Uber said, “we respectfully disagree with the California Department of Motor Vehicles legal interpretation of today’s autonomous regulations, in particular, that Uber needs a testing permit to operate its self-driving cars in San Francisco.”
To put things simply, Uber’s argument is that since there is someone behind the wheel to take control that the car is not fully autonomous and is similar to Tesla’s autopilot technology. Of course, Uber’s autonomous XC90s don’t have this requirement, so its reasoning doesn’t exactly hold water. And, if you know the California government, you know it feels the same way. For now, the government is threatening legal action and Uber is promptly giving them the bird at every turn. And, there’s the case of the XC90 that ran a red light last week. Uber blames the person behind the wheel and has suspended them, but that seems to justify California’s request to get the necessary permits. Obviously, these XC90s can drive without the driver paying attention – otherwise, that video of the XC90 running a red light wouldn’t exist – and it also proves that Uber’s self-driving technology is far from ready to take on the roads by themselves.
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What Happens Next?
Is Uber’s stance on not needing a permit a strong enough case for it to keep operating? Some say yes while other say no way. But, the according to Wired, the situation has been escalated to the Attorney General’s office for enforcement action, which is now working with the DMV and AG to determine all of the possible ways to enforce state law. In the end, the DMV could potentially revoke the registration for all of Uber’s self-driving cars. That would allow the driver in each vehicle to be cited for no registration and even potential impounding. As we’ve seen in the past, Uber is stubborn and will fight any enforcement action, so this could turn into one interesting dramafest. What do you think? Should Uber take the time to get the permits or is its rebellion against governmental regulations justified? Let us know in the comments section below.