[Nfbmo] California tells Uber to shut down 'illegal' self-driving car service in San Francisco

Roger Crome r_crome1 at msn.com
Fri Dec 16 13:25:31 UTC 2016

I completely agree with you Gary.  I am very excited to see this finally come to pass.  There are challenges that I foresee for the self-driving cars that I will be interested in seeing how they address the issues.  One example is rural settings like where I live.  The property I live on has four houses which have four different addresses.  However, the placement of the homes is not consistent with the address sequencing.  So,  one would have to know which house that is being looked for by description.  It is not possible for these companies to map everything accurately, and so, I wonder how they are going to address it.  In my employment, I have gone to some very isolated areas that were confusing to find for a human who could think through what appears to be an illogical situation.  

I believe that this will be a great accomplishment for people of all abilities.  It is very, very exciting.

Sent from my iPhone

> On Dec 16, 2016, at 7:08 AM, Gary Wunder via Nfbmo <nfbmo at nfbnet.org> wrote:
> What is so interesting about self driving cars is the unresolved issue about
> whether they will be self driving or be self driving with a human backup.
> Some of the companies involved in this research believe that it is unsafe to
> rely on a human driver in the event that the computer guidance system has
> difficulty. In the meetings I have been in the companies promoting these
> vehicles say that you can't have it both ways: if a person is in a self
> driving car, he or she will not pay attention to the road in the same way
> that a normal driver would. They say that they are unequivocally opposed to
> putting out systems that can do 95% of what needs to be done and relying on
> human beings to fill the gap.
> In the case of one company I have had the pleasure to work with, they
> claimed that their vehicles had driven over 350,000 miles and that the only
> accident recorded was when one of their vehicles was rear ended by another.
> I think legislators and regulators need to think not only about the
> technology but the psychology behind a self driving vehicle. Not only do I
> want to one day be able to go from point X to point why without relying on
> someone else, but I want the safety that can be a part of a computerized
> system that is not distracted by a noise in the backseat, by trying to
> rubberneck when going by a fire, or by trying to text and drive. These are
> exciting times. 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Nfbmo [mailto:nfbmo-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Daniel Garcia via
> Nfbmo
> Sent: Wednesday, December 14, 2016 8:41 PM
> To: NFB of Missouri Mailing List (nfbmo at nfbnet.org)
> Cc: Daniel Garcia
> Subject: [Nfbmo] California tells Uber to shut down 'illegal' self-driving
> car service in San Francisco
> Source:
> https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2016/12/14/uber-expands-s
> elf-driving-car-service-to-a-second-city/?utm_term=.0e765e2b0635
> Uber expanded its self-driving car service to San Francisco on Wednesday,
> but state regulators are calling for a halt. (Courtesy of Uber) 
> Not even a full day after Uber launched its self-driving service in San
> Francisco did California regulators tell the company to shut it down.
> The California Department of Motor Vehicles threatened legal action, telling
> the company that it must first obtain a special permit to test autonomous
> vehicles on the state's roadways.
> Uber launched the service Wednesday morning and acknowledged at the time
> that it might run afoul of state regulators. The company had declined to
> obtain a permit on the grounds that its cars require human monitoring and
> thus do not meet the state's definition of an autonomous vehicle, a
> spokeswoman said early Wednesday.
> The DMV disagreed. It called Uber's program illegal and demanded the company
> cease operations until it received a permit that would require the company
> to prove that it is financially responsible, has qualified drivers, and will
> report collisions and other safety information to state regulators.
> "These requirements serve to build public trust in the safety of the
> technology and to foster confidence in allowing autonomous vehicles on
> public streets," Brian Soublet, the department's deputy director and chief
> counsel, wrote in a letter.
> A spokeswoman for the company did not immediately respond to a request for
> comment on the letter. Uber said earlier Wednesday that it hoped California
> would see the merits of its self-driving vehicle program, including the
> potential to improve traffic safety, and not create barriers to innovation.
> "Pittsburgh, Arizona, Nevada and Florida in particular have been leaders in
> this way, and by doing so have made clear that they are pro technology. Our
> hope is that California, our home state and a leader in much of the world's
> dynamism, will take a similar view," Anthony Levandowski, the head of Uber's
> advanced technology group, wrote on the blog.
> Uber began matching a small number of riders with vehicles that rely on
> Uber's self-driving technology rather than human drivers on Wednesday
> morning. Those vehicles still had a safety driver on board who can take
> control if necessary, as well as a company engineer.
> San Francisco is the second city in the country to officially test Uber's
> service, which the company has said will be critical to the future of both
> ride hailing and urban transportation. Uber first deployed self-driving
> vehicles in Pittsburgh three months ago.
> "With its challenging roads and often varied weather, Pittsburgh provided a
> wide array of experiences. San Francisco comes with its own nuances
> including more bikes on the road, high traffic density and narrow lanes,"
> Levandowski wrote on the blog.
> The rollout in San Francisco started with just a handful of self-driving
> vehicles, and was expected to gradually scale up as more cars become
> available, a spokeswoman said. Uber has a partnership with Volvo to provide
> the company's self-driving vehicles, including the newly released XC90,
> which comes equipped with a system of lasers and cameras for guidance.
> Only users with a credit card tied to a San Francisco address are eligible
> for the program. Those who are matched with a self-driving car will receive
> an alert that allows them to learn more about the program or opt out, a
> spokeswoman said.
> Uber is the second Silicon Valley company to make self-driving car news this
> week. Google announced Tuesday that its self-driving car project would be
> spun off into a separate company, called Waymo. The move is a sign that the
> company intends to bring the technology to market, though an exact timeline
> remains unclear.
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