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

David Andrews dandrews at visi.com
Sat Dec 17 04:29:43 UTC 2016

This also could change over time, that is initially requiring a 
driver at all times, then relaxed later on.  There was stuff on the 
news about a self-driving google car in San Francisco, which was 
hauling around a blind guy.


At 07:06 AM 12/16/2016, you 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
>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
>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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