Uber to Play by the Rules in California for Self-Driving Cars

  • Three months ago Uber’s cars were pulled off the road there
  • Company had previously refused to apply for proper DMV permit

Uber Technologies Inc. wants to re-introduce its self-driving cars in California, legally this time.

In December, Uber’s pilot program automobiles were pulled off the streets in San Francisco for failing to properly register with the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. Now, after relocating cars to Arizona, Uber wants back in its home state.

“These cars are legally registered and are being driven manually,” an Uber spokeswoman said. “We are taking steps to complete our application to apply for a DMV testing permit.”

In order to test drive autonomous vehicles in the state, a company must apply for a special permit through the California DMV. Uber had previously argued that its vehicles require oversight by a human driver and therefore shouldn’t fall under California’s autonomous-driving rules. After the state attorney general threatened legal action if the company continued operating the automobiles without a permit, Uber started looking elsewhere.

Last week, Uber expanded its program, which also operates in Pittsburgh, to Tempe, Arizona. But the Golden State was always at the top of the list for the San Francisco-based company.

“As we said in December, Uber remains 100 percent committed to California,” the spokeswoman said.

Currently, 23 companies including Tesla Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Volkswagen AG, and Baidu Inc. are on the list of approved participants for the program.

The Mercury News earlier reported on Uber’s plans to reapply in California.

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