Uber Lets Go of Self-Driving Car Rights in California

The company is letting its California permit expire after one of its self-driving cars fatally struck a pedestrian in Arizona.

After a self-driving car fatally struck a woman in Arizona last week, Uber has decided not to reapply for a testing permit in California — and there will likely be more scrutiny when it does.

The rideshare company paused all self-driving cars after one struck and killed a woman in Tempe, Ariz. Its permit to test in California is set to expire on March 31.

“We proactively suspended our self-driving operations, including in California, immediately following the Tempe incident,” an Uber spokesperson said. “Given this, we decided to not reapply for a California DMV permit with the understanding that our self-driving vehicles would not operate on public roads in the immediate future.”

In a letter to Uber’s public affairs manager, Austin Heyworth, a California Department of Motor Vehicles official told the company that when it does try for a new permit, more eyeballs may fall on the application.

“Any application for a new permit will need to address any follow-up analysis or investigations from the recent crash in Arizona and may also require a meeting with the department,” wrote Brian G. Soublet, the department’s deputy director, on Tuesday.

Mayor Mark Farrell is also cracking down on self-driving car companies. Earlier this month, he called on 50 businesses with testing permits to agree to voluntary safety checks, the Examiner reported.

So for the foreseeable future, no self-driving Uber cars will be on San Francisco streets. 

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