Despite regulators demanding a permit before its fleet of driverless cars hit the roads, Uber has launched its new vehicles in its hometown of San Francisco.
Uber appears to be cashing on a loophole it found in the regulations, saying that the required permit is for autonomous vehicles and because Uber’s fleet of cars is going to be monitored, the cars are not autonomous.
In a company blog post, it was explained that the cars are still in the earlier days of testing and would need to be monitored initially.
However, even after being monitored, the cars have been involved in traffic incidents. Witnesses have reported that the cars have been caught running red lights and even charging onto pedestrian walkways in some cases. Uber responded by blaming it on ‘human error’, saying the mistakes occurred due to the errors made by people meant to sit behind the steering wheel.
Uber’s driverless cars still require an Uber employee behind the wheel in case manual intervention is required. Uber users will have the option of selecting a regular Uber or a driverless Uber through the Uber App.
It will not be the first time Uber has come under fire with the law regulators. Uber has been accused of not conducting thorough background checks on its driver and has even been suspended in some countries in the past.
California regulators are continuing to pressure Uber to submit a permit, warning that if Uber does not submit a permit the DMV will be forced to take legal action.
California has given out 20 permits for prototype testing of autonomous cars in the state. All the companies are either tech companies or traditional automakers and they are urging Uber to apply for the permit for the sake of keeping roads safe.
Uber’s claims that if testing is successful, it would emerge as the founder of revolutionary technology that will save the lives of thousands on the road by diminishing human error involved in driving.