It’s been two months since California’s DMV forced Uber’s self-driving vehicles off San Francisco’s roads after the company refused to register for the correct permits. Now, the fleet of autonomous Volvo XC90s has arrived in Arizona for a new round of testing.
After launching its autonomous vehicle program in Pittsburgh last September, Uber expanded the pilot to San Francisco three months later. But the state’s DMV revoked the registration of the 16 SUVs after just one week.
As well as reports of the vehicles breaking road laws and endangering cyclists, the agency was running out of patience with the ride-hailing firm’s insistence that it didn’t need a permit to conduct self-driving vehicle tests. Uber argued that as there is a person behind the wheel at all times, the SUVs can’t be considered fully autonomous. The DMV disagreed. It’s suspected part of the reason Uber didn’t want to apply for the permit is the requirement to publicize the number of times a human driver has been forced to take control of the vehicle.
After being booted from the Golden City, Uber said it was looking for other testing locations.Now, Tempe, Arizona residents can hail one of its driverless Volvo’s with the blessing of the state, which has less strict laws on self-driving vehicles, and its governor, Doug Ducey, who is a long-time supporter of the technology.
Uber will be hoping the tests move some of the media spotlight away from the accusations of rampant sexism within the company. Former engineer Susan Fowler’s recent blog post claims female employees regularly face sexual harassment at the firm, an accusation that has led to several internal investigations.