Uber pulls self-driving cars off California roads

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Uber has pulled its self-driving cars from California roads. The ride-sharing company said Wednesday that California transportation regulators revoked registrations for the vehicles.

Hours after Uber launched the service in San Francisco, the Department of Motor Vehicles demanded it stop until the company got a special testing permit to run on public roads.

The DMV confirmed that it had moved to revoke the registrations of 16 cars, saying officials had been determined that the registrations were improperly issued because the vehicles were not properly marked as test vehicles.

RELATED: Uber meeting with DMV over testing self-driving cars

On the day Uber announced it was launching its self-driving car service, a cabbie shot video of a self-driving Uber car blowing through a red light. The company has since said that car was not in self-drive mode. But the car Brian Weidenmeier was riding in was.

"During the course of our trip through the streets of SOMA, it made two illegal right turns, while in self-driving mode across a bike lane," said Brian Wiedenmeier, SF Bicycle Coalition.

He was invited to ride in one of Uber's autonomous vehicles just before the company announced its robot car service. Christopher Koff witnessed a different Uber car run a red light about a month ago.

"The driver did not have his hands on the wheel, and he was actually looking at the passenger who had his laptop open, and the two of them were having a conversation, and they were completely shocked," Said Christopher Koff, SOMA business owner.

RELATED: CA regulators say Uber must stop self-driving car service in SF

As Uber meets with state regulators over its autonomous vehicle project one thing is clear, authorities don't know how many dangerous situations its cars may have experienced. That's because Uber is still operating without a permit from the DMV, which would require reports on these glitches.
Uber's robot cars have been on city streets for months. But the state jumped in only after the company announced it would start picking up customers "before last week, Uber told the DMV those vehicles were only mapping, not driving autonomously."

RELATED: Uber keep using self-driving vehicles in San Francisco

Mayor Ed Lee says he's personally talked with Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick.

"I think he should not be operating his driverless vehicle technology on our streets without that permit. Twenty other companies have not had a problem getting those permits," said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

But the mayor is not sure local police can impound Uber's robot cars, even if they're operating without a permit.

The AP has contributed to this report.
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