09:23 22 December 2016
Uber has started testing self-driving cars this week without a test permit from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The company reasoned that its cars did not need a permit as there are safety drivers at the wheel.
However, California’s attorney general said that Uber must cease the driving immediately or face further action.
Other companies testing autonomous technology in California have obtained permit costing $150 for 10 vehicles. Additional vehicles can be added at a rate of $50 for each additional 10 vehicles.
In a letter to Uber this week, Brian Soublet from the California DMV said: "It is illegal for the company to operate its self-driving vehicles on public roads until it receives an autonomous vehicle testing permit,"
However, Uber's vice-president of Advanced Technologies Anthony Levandowski said that the regulations were irrelevant to the company’s cars. "You don't need a belt and suspenders if you're wearing a dress,"
He added that the permit only applies to cars "without the active physical control or monitoring of a human operator".