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Uber Applying For A Self-Driving Car Testing Permit In California

Uber Technologies is looking to get permission from California to allow self-driving cars back on the road, according to the company.

In a report, an Uber spokeswoman said the company is taking steps to complete its application for a DMV testing permit for two of Uber’s self-driving cars that are operating in San Francisco but are being driven manually, as Uber awaits the permit.

According to the report, the DMV in California held talks with Uber to help in applying for a self-driving car testing permit, although the taxi-hailing app service hasn’t submitted its application yet. The California DMV requires companies testing autonomous vehicles on roads that are public to have a permit, which 23 companies, including Google, Tesla Motors and Ford Motor, already have.

In December, Uber’s San Francisco self-driving car initiative was halted almost as soon as details were released. On Wednesday (Dec. 14), Uber announced that it would bring the self-driving Volvo XC90s — like the ones it rolled out for downtown Pittsburgh back in September — to San Francisco. Well, semi-self-driving, as the ride is supervised by a person in the driver’s seat at all times.

But California regulators ordered Uber to shut down the program until it acquires a $150 autonomous vehicle testing permit through California’s Department of Motor Vehicles. Along with acquiring a permit, companies testing self-driving technology in California must provide autonomous vehicle accident data, along with a record of how often autonomous drive mode is disengaged.

Brian Soublet, deputy director and chief counsel of the DMV, was quoted in a letter to Uber’s self-driving vehicle program officials: “It is illegal for the company to operate its self-driving vehicles on public roads until it receives an autonomous vehicle testing permit. Any action by Uber to continue the operation of vehicles equipped with autonomous technology on public streets in California must cease until Uber complies.”

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