Uber launches self-driving pilot in San Francisco with Volvo CarsEnlarge Photo
Uber thought they were bigger than the California government. That didn't work out so well, as the company attempted to run its fleet of autonomous ride-sharing Volvo XC90s through the streets of San Francisco.
You see, you need permits to operate these machines—and Uber didn't think that was as necessary as the State of California did.
Rather than battle the state, Uber simply moved its test fleet to Arizona. Now the ride-sharing and tech company has decided it wants to make an autonomous return to the Bay Area.
According to The Verge, Uber is going to play ball with the State of California. That means that permits will be applied for, and rules will be followed. A number of those autonomous Volvos are apparently already back in California, but they are being driven manually to collect data for mapping purposes.
The California DMV said that Uber has not yet officially requested the permits, but that it is in talks with the DMV to move this along. Once that happens, it seems that Uber will be ready to once again being testing its autonomous ride-sharing service in San Francisco.
Is Uber's new humility a return to playing by the books, or an attempt to settle one challenging PR issue as another bubbles to the surface?
The new challenge would be Uber's use of "greyball" software that identified what it termed abusive users, and served them up a fake version of its app—in part to deceive sting operations and let its drivers continue to take fares in cities and countries that had explicitly banned the service.