It was over before it had barely started – on Wednesday [local time], Uber launched a new program in San Francisco using a handful of self-driving Volvo SUVs that have a vehicle operator in the driver’s seat in case of emergency!
However the California Department of Motor Vehicles swiftly moved to order Uber to cease the program because of safety concerns after a taxi driver posted a video to YouTube showing what appeared to be one of the ‘driverless’ Volvos running a red light on Wednesday morning.
Uber responded by saying that the incident in question was caused by human-driver error, the driver had been suspended and that the vehicle was not part of the pilot program.
The DMV issued a letter to Uber demanding that it cease its program immediately because, of the 20 companies that have been issued with autonomous-vehicle permits for testing on public roads in the state of California, Uber is not one of them!
Uber is looking for a loophole, however, insisting that because its cars require a ‘vehicle operator’ to monitor them they do not fall under the DMV’s strict definition of ‘autonomous’.