Why the California DMV Plans to Sue Uber

Why the California DMV Plans to Sue Uber

Late last week, ridesharing giant Uber received a cease and desist letter from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

The letter issued a warning to Uber that, unless it stops testing its self-driving cars in California, the DMV will sue Uber and get an injunction to force it to stop.

The DMV claims that Uber is flouting the rules requiring self-driving car technology companies to obtain a DMV permit to test these vehicles.  Other companies, like Google, Tesla, Volvo, and Ford, have complied with the DMV’s permitting requirement.

Uber is taking a stand and defying the DMV’s warning.  Uber is arguing that it isn’t required to obtain permitting because it believes it doesn’t fit in with DMV’s definition of “fully autonomous vehicle.”

While Uber continues to test its vehicles, each vehicle has a passenger inside ready to take over.  This is a key distinction, because Uber believes this fact distinguishes the company from others rolling out self-driving cars with no drivers inside.

This isn’t the first time Uber has been threatened by a state’s Motor Vehicle Department.  The Commonwealth of Virginia issued a sternly-worded cease and desist in 2014.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.  It looks like both Uber and the California DMV do not intend to back down.  We’ll keep you posted about this developing issue.

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