Uber has halted its self-driving program in California, following regulatory pressure from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and state attorney general.
It comes one week after the DMV revoked the registration of Uber’s 16 self-driving cars. The DMV said Uber had not filed the appropriate permit to test self-driving vehicles.
Uber launched a defiant campaign to change the state laws and said it would continue to test its cars in San Francisco, but retreated from that position earlier on Thursday evening.
“We’re now looking at where we can redeploy these cars but remain 100 percent committed to California and will be redoubling our efforts to develop workable statewide rules,” an Uber spokeswoman said in a statement.
Uber argued that its self-driving service was no different to Tesla’s AutoPilot, which does not require a permit, because an engineer is always taking control in difficult situations.
No one else seems to have a trouble with permits
Over 20 companies have applied for self-driving permits in the state, including Google, Tesla, and Ford, but none of those programs are as limited in autonomous functionality or as open to the public as Uber’s program.
In a follow up statement, the ride-hailing giant said the state laws are constraining innovation. It has not confirmed if it will apply for a permit to test self-driving cars in the state, or if it will look towards launching the program in more receptive states.
Uber has not said why it is so apprehensive towards applying for a permit. Part of the reason may be if it applies for one now, at $100 a vehicle, it may have to spend hundreds of thousands in the future to make sure every self-driving car is allowed on the road.