The California Department of Motor Vehicles issued a permit allowing Uber to test its driverless cars on public California roads, according to TechCrunch. Uber has proceeded with caution regarding its self-driving car tests following a fatal crash in Arizona back in 2018. The company currently has Washington D.C. in its sights, but it’s currently only mapping the city, so don’t expect any driverless cars in San Franciso in the near future.
The road ahead — Since Uber scaled back its driverless car program following the Arizona crash, the company lost a bit of momentum, especially as Waymo charges ahead. This permit indicates a renewed level of trust in the program. Uber’s taking that trust seriously and easing into its local tests.
“While we do not have an update as to exactly when we’ll resume autonomous testing, receiving our testing permit through the California DMV is a critical step towards that end in Uber’s home city,” said Uber spokesperson in an emailed statement to TechCrunch.
The future of driverless cars in California, however, is probably of particular interest to Uber right now. The state’s new freelancer law has been met with vitriol and legal action from several gig economy companies. If they can cut out the drivers altogether, who cares about employee designations?