Uber says that it will continue to test its self-driving cars despite being told by the California DMV to cease all testing. The California Department of Motor Vehicles threatened to take action unless Uber shuts down all testing within the city of San Francisco unless the company obtains a permit to do so.
Uber doesn’t think that it needs a permit to do what companies like Tesla have been doing with cars that are able to park themselves without driver assist. Uber also believes that the only way they would need a permit is if the vehicles they are testing lack the presence of a human body in the driver seat.
Anthony Levandowsky runs the Uber autonomous car programs and says that there are people who occupy both driver and passenger seats in the vehicle to record and monitor the cars actions during the test. He says, “When the vehicle is operating, they are instructed to have their hands on the wheel. They have them in the 5 and 7 o’clock positions.” He also confirmed that there are two sets of controls in the vehicle, just like during drivers training, so the passengers are able to take over at any time during the test drive.
However, the DMV has threatened legal action unless Uber obtains the necessary permits to properly continue their testing. Companies like Google and Ford have already gotten the permits to test their self-driving models. Ford has even announced that it plans on producing a fully autonomous vehicle by the 2021.
Uber refuses to comply with the California DMV simply because they believe that their semi-autonomous cars don’t fit under the category of fully autonomous vehicle that would require them to file for a permit. However, the DMV stated that permit is to ensure that “those testing the vehicle have provided an adequate level of financial responsibility, have adequately trained qualified test drivers on the safe operation of the autonomous technology; and will notify the DMV when the vehicles have been involved in a collision.”