Uber Not Renewing Its Self-Driving Permit In California

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Uber will not be renewing its permit to test self-driving cars in California. Following a recent crash that led to the death of one woman, Uber confirmed that all self-driving tests would be halted across the U.S. According to the California DMV, it appears Uber doesn’t have any plans to recommence testing in the state, at least in the near future, due to the fact that their current permit has not been renewed.

DMV Deputy Director Brian Soublet stated that “Uber’s authority to test autonomous vehicles on California public roads will end on March 31, 2018,” with Uber later confirming that it has no plans to renew its current permit due to the recent incident. The ride-hailing company initially had plans to launch a new self-driving service that would eventually remove the need for human drivers altogether while increasing the operating hours of individual vehicles vastly and thus reducing the overall costs of transportation. After the recent Tempe, Arizona incident, it appears the startup is distancing itself from the plan, and will not be recommencing testing in the U.S. anytime soon. Uber will likely conduct a full review of its self-driving software, while also implementing a number of improvements and adjustments before its vehicles re-appear on public roads. After all, the state of Arizona has also indefinitely suspended the company’s license to test vehicles and, according to Soublet, it will likely have to “address any follow-up analysis or investigations from the recent crash,” not to mention prove that its software is up to the standards required by the DMV before reapplying for any permits.

Nevertheless, for now, the fact that the company is retreating from its plans hints at what will likely be a long road ahead for its self-driving fleet. Not to mention that states could raise the safety requirements for future applicants looking to test vehicles on public roads. For Uber, though, the incident in Tempe will prove to be a major setback and also means that its goal of launching a self-driving service in select U.S. cities by the end of the year is likely no longer attainable.