It only took one day for the state of California to ban Uber from running its self-driving cars in San Francisco.
It was actually hours after Uber launched the self-driving service on Wednesday morning that the DMV sent a letter to the ride-sharing company, claiming that the service was illegal and the proper permits had not been granted to run autonomous vehicles on public roads. In the letter, the DMV threatened legal action, but so far, it seems Uber is not complying with the request.
“If Uber does not confirm immediately that it will stop its launch and seek a testing permit, DMV will initiate legal action,” DMV Chief Counsel Brian Soublet wrote in the letter.
Uber executives claim that a permit shouldn’t be necessary as the self-driving cars have engineers in the driver seat who are required to keep their hands on the wheel at all times, whether the car is driving itself or not. Thanks to this, Uber says that its cars are not technically “autonomous” because they require a human driver to oversee their operation.
The pilot program initially launched in Pittsburgh three months ago, allowing riders to be driven by a Volvo XC90 outfitted with self-driving technology, monitored by an engineer in the front seat. Rides in the self-driving cars cost the same as a regular ride and each customer paired with a self-driving car is able to refuse the ride and opt for a regular Uber driver.
So far, California has issued 20 permits for autonomous vehicle testing on public roads to traditional automakers and tech companies.
Uber and the DMV are expected to meet Thursday to come to an agreement.