Arizona Governor Doug Ducey on Friday welcomed the arrival of a fleet of Uber self-driving cars delivered via a self-driving truck that transported them from California. Ducey’s office says the governor welcomed the truck carrying the self-driving Volvos at the State Capitol in Phoenix.
Uber announced Thursday that it was shipping the cars to Arizona after they were banned from California roads over lack of required permits. Uber made the announcement after Ducey on Wednesday and Thursday promoted Arizona as an alternative to California for the ride-hailing company to test its self-driving cars.
Uber has not announced when the cars will be tested, nor provided details about how many vehicles arrived in Arizona. Uber previously had 16 self-driving cars registered in California.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles said it revoked the registration of 16 Uber self-driving cars because they had not been properly permitted. For the last week, the agency was demanding that Uber shut down its program and comply with regulations requiring a permit to test self-driving cars on public roads.
Uber said it was not obligated to have a permit because its vehicles require continuous monitoring by a person in the car. San Francisco was supposed to be Uber’s second testing ground for its self-driving cars. The company unveiled its self-driving cars in September in Pittsburgh.
“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.
California defines autonomous vehicles as having the capability to drive “without the active physical control or monitoring of a natural person.”
Uber has argued that the law does not apply to its cars, which cannot stay in autonomous mode continuously. A driver and an engineer are in the front seats to take over frequently in sticky traffic situations such as construction zones or pedestrian crossings.
With AP and Reuters inputs