Uber the would-be taxi killer has announced that it is moving its trial base from California to Arizona. This week the tech giant had been warned by the California DMV that they required permits to operate the self driving technology cars that they’ve been trialling. Uber initially stated that they felt that the laws regarding the permits didn’t apply to them, and they intended to carry on regardless. Though it now seems that something has changed as they’ve now announced that Arizona will be their new test base.
They claimed in a statement that they’ve already packed up their cars and transported them. It’s believed that they have strong support from the governor of the State Doug Doucey. The Governor also released a statement offering Uber a warm welcome.
Uber had a poor week for its first trials of the driverless technology, as two of the vehicles had been caught running red lights. Though the company has insisted that this was due to driver error and not the software that runs the vehicles autonomous driving mode.
The final straw was the revocation of licenses for 16 of Uber’s test vehicles by the California DMV on Wednesday. As California had continued to insist that permits were required for the cars. Though Uber begged to differ saying that the cars were not constantly autonomous, in the same way that Tesla has a self driving mode. Though somewhat ironically Tesla does have permits for its vehicle. The state had noted that they can provide permits in as little as 72 hours, so it’s unclear why Uber had such an issue.
The state governor of Arizona Doug Doucey had taken to Twitter to blast California’s lack of vision and bureaucracy. Though many will counter that on the contrary California has been a big hit with innovation. Though the governor is a big supporter of tech in the state, and has previously changed laws to loosen laws and encourage innovation. Just recently it was also reported that he’d taken a ride in Google’s Waymo driverless car. As Arizona had also been a testing hub for their technology.
Where these leaves Uber and California is unknown, but the tech giant has reaffirmed its commitment to development in the state. This may just prove to be the tech company’s way of trying to show who’s boss. But with so much of Uber invested in the state, a complete upheaval is unlikely. It’s likely that in the end they will comply with the rules, albeit quietly.
Joseph is a 34 year old freelance writer from London. He has a wide interest in politics and specialises in the subject. He's also a blog writer in his spare time.