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Uber forced to end self-driving pilot program in San Francisco after DMV revokes registrations

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Uber’s short-lived self-driving ride program is officially coming to an end. The ride-hailing service began giving self-driving rides exactly one week ago in San Francisco, but that same day California regulators told the company it must stop the pilot program because it had not gone through the proper permit process.

After the request, the company insisted that it could run the program anyway, but in a statement to TechCrunch today, Uber confirmed that it is ending its self-driving pilot in San Francisco.

According to the company, it met today with the California DMV and Attorney General’s office and came to the conclusion that it will not seek proper permits in California, so the agency decided to revoke the registrations for the test vehicles, forcing them to take cars off the road.

Instead, Uber plans to deploy the vehicles elsewhere for now, despite California offering the company a clear path to obtaining certification.

We have stopped our self-driving pilot in California as the DMV has revoked the registrations for our self-driving cars. 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.

Initially, Uber continued its self-driving program in San Francisco despite warnings from regulators to stop. The California DMV and Attorney General’s office, however, told Uber that if it continued, it would face legal ramifications.

The statement from regulators came following footage showing a prototype car running a red light in front of a pedestrian, though Uber stated the driver of the vehicle was to blame.

From the start, we’ve reported that Uber was reaching by calling its vehicles “self-driving.” Uber wanted its autonomous tech to be considered level 3, requiring active monitoring by a human driver when activated. This complied with California law, as the DMV states that autonomous systems are “able to drive without the active physical control or monitoring by a human operator.”

It remains to be seen where Uber will bring its self-driving vehicles to next, but at this point, the company is operating another trial program in Pittsburgh using retrofitted Ford Focus cars and Volvo SUVs.

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