Uber began testing its autonomous vehicles in San Francisco yesterday, and almost immediately footage began circulating of one of their Volvos, outfitted with an array of cameras, ripping through a stoplight.
Dashboard video from a fellow driver shows the car clearly blowing through a crosswalk after the light has changed. A worrying sign to anyone, regardless of how they feel about driverless cars.
Uber’s cars currently cannot function without a driver at the steering wheel, and the company quickly claimed that the moving violation was the fault of the human operator, not its technology. “This incident was due to human error. This is why we believe so much in making the roads safer by building self-driving Ubers. This vehicle was not part of the pilot and was not carrying customers. The driver involved has been suspended while we continue to investigate,” Uber told BuzzFeed in a statement.
That excuse didn’t stop the California DMV from quickly ordering Uber to cease its testing until it gets a permit. In a letter obtained by the Verge, the division’s deputy director Brian Soublet calls the test program illegal. Uber believes that it does not need a permit because its self-driving cars require someone in the driver’s seat monitoring the system. Uber, which is used to spending its way through regulatory infractions, has not yet commented on the letter.