Less than a week ago, Uber was standing strong in its defiance of the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and insistent that its 16-car strong self-driving program was both legal and safe to conduct on the streets of San Francisco. However, the past few days of intense back and forth with regulators, as well as a few mishaps on the road (including program vehicles running red lights and having trouble identifying bicycle lanes), has led to a complete reversal on this aggressive stance from the world's leading ride-hailing service.
Of course, The Wall Street Journal's Greg Bensinger reports that the fact that the DMV also revoked the registrations of these vehicles helped expedite the process of kowtowing this defiant transportation leader.
The big key to this bold move by state regulators revolves entirely around a rather simple concept. Essentially, the DMV claims that the permits were improperly issued, and therefore illegal, based on the fact that Uber didn’t clarify that the vehicles in question were both autonomous and meant to be used for testing purposes.
Will Uber seek to reignite its self-driving operations in the Bay Area after filing the appropriate paperwork? Could the State of California seek out further restrictions and roadblocks in retaliation for this ride-sharing leader's blatant disregard for the cease and desist requests that piled up on the doorstep at Uber headquarters in the days leading up to this final resolution? Bensinger seeks to answer these questions, and many more, in his feature-length story for The Wall Street Journal.