Consumer Watchdog calls on California DMV to stop Uber’s self-driving vehicle tests

Consumer Watchdog calls on California DMV to stop Uber’s self-driving vehicle tests

Consumer Watchdog has called on California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to revoke Uber-subsidiary Otto’s robot truck registrations and “seek appropriate charges against the company and its executives for illegally testing self-driving technology on California roads”. In a statement published on its website yesterday (8 February), the consumer lobbying group said: “Given Otto’s actions, Uber cannot be trusted and the DMV should revoke the registrations of the robot cars Uber recently returned to San Francisco with the claim they won’t operate in self-driving mode. Uber bought Otto last summer to get access to its self-driving technology.”

In a formal complaint to DMV Director Jean Shiomoto, John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog Privacy Project Director wrote: “As you know, testing self-driving vehicles in California requires a permit, something that 21 companies have obtained with no problem. Moreover, self-driving vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds cannot be tested in the state under current regulations. Otto’s robot trucks fail on both counts.  They have no permits and they weigh too much.”

The full text of Consumer Watchdog’s formal complaint can be accessed here:

Consumer Watchdog added: “Uber illegally tested its robot cars in San Francisco in December without permits until the DMV revoked the cars’ registrations [click here to see the Post&Parcel report on this]. Some cars have recently been returned to the city with the claim that they are only gathering data and doing mapping, not operating in self-driving mode.  Based on Otto’s behavior, there is absolutely no reason to take Uber’s word for anything.”

Consumer Watchdog has been campaigning with considerable zeal against the autonomous vehicle testing programmes taking place in California. Earlier this month, for example, it claimed that it had “collated reports from different robot car companies and concluded that at this stage autonomous vehicles are not ready to be deployed without a human driver behind the wheel”.




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