For those that have been kept out of the loop, there has been a lot of beef between Uber Technologies Inc. and regulators out of California over their automated driving vehicles. This has been in regards to a required permit at the price tag of $150. Uber finally gave in and agreed to pay the fee for two of their vehicles that they will be testing in the state.
Uber received their permits to begin testing on Wednesday. This will allow them to use the vehicles on public roads within the state. The provision has been protested by Uber for quite some time now as they felt that it was both overreaching and unnecessary. Back in December of last year the ride service had begun testing their vehicles on public roads, but within just a few hours they were stopped by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. They were told that their tests were illegal and had the registrations on the two vehicles revoked. In turn, Uber ended the program in California and moved their fleet of vehicles down to Arizona to protest the regulation.
They have given in and paid for the new permits on two of their vehicles. They have also received authorization for 48 different people to sit behind the wheel of these vehicles and correct mistakes manually. They will take over control of the vehicle if there is some sort of malfunction during the testing process. In this sense, the vehicles won’t be fully automatic for the time being, but that seems to be the direction that the company’s cars are headed.
Many technology and manufacturing companies have begun investing billions of dollars into the automated vehicle industry. The end goal will be to produce vehicles that are more efficient and are less prone to accidents that typically get caused by human error. This is a major untapped market that will improve driving conditions and drop costs in a economy that has slowly increasing fossil fuel prices. At this time we are still years away from having these types of vehicles on the road.