The California DMV has granted Uber a permit to test its vehicles on California roads, according to The Mercury News.
Self-driving cars are increasingly seen as a way for Uber to deal with regulation that threatens how it does business. In Germany, the company was recently banned from transporting customers using rental vehicles after previously being blocked from matching riders with drivers using their own vehicles. In California, Uber is facing additional challenges as a result of Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) that changes the status of contractors to that of employees, requiring companies like Uber to offer additional benefits and thereby driving up costs.
Self-driving cars would solve these and other problems and potentially streamline long-term costs for Uber. The company has previously tested self-driving vehicles, with a car the company was testing notoriously striking and killing a pedestrian in Arizona.
The Mercury News is reporting that “the DMV said that it granted the permit to Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group after the company ‘fulfilled all the requirements to receive a permit to test autonomous vehicles in California with a safety driver behind the wheel.’ The DMV also said that Uber presented documentation that showed changes it made to its autonomous vehicle testing program and testing guidelines.”
There is no timetable for the cars to see widespread use, with Uber indicating it is in no hurry to deploy the vehicles.