In About-Face, Uber Will Apply for California Self-Driving Car Permit
It wasn't long ago that Uber dramatically pulled its fleet of autonomous Volvos from California's streets after refusing to secure an Autonomous Vehicle Testing Permit in the state.
Now, Uber has decided to play by California's rules after all. According to The Mercury News, Uber will apply for the state permit required to test its autonomous vehicles in the state.
The ride-hailing app previously argued that it didn't need the $150 permit since humans were present in its autonomous Volvo XC90 SUVs at all times, ready to take over if necessary. The California DMV didn't agree and revoked the SUVs' registrations, effectively ending the expiriment. Uber in December loaded its vehicles onto flatbed trucks and rolled them over to Arizona, where Gov. Doug Ducey welcomed them with open arms.
Passengers in Tempe now have the option to get picked up by a self-driving Uber. The company's self-driving vehicles still have a human behind the wheel to take over if something goes wrong.
Uber did not immediately respond to PCMag's request for comment, but the company has confirmed it will be taking steps to begin testing in California again.
"As we said in December, Uber remains 100 percent committed to California," an Uber spokeswoman told The Mercury News.
Meanwhile, the about-face in California comes as Uber was dealt a legal setback in London this week. According to Reuters, a London court ruled that Uber drivers are indeed required to pass an English language exam to prove their reading and writing skills. Uber had challenged the mandate, arguing that it would cause 33,000 London drivers to lose their licenses.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick also this week found himself at the center of another controversy after being caught on a dash camera disrespecting a driver. In the video, first published on Bloomberg, Kalanick raises his voice and uses profanities while arguing with an Uber driver, identified as Fawzi Kamel, over fares. Kalanick has since issued an apology.