California, Uber still negotiating self-driving car legality

AP News
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Posted: Dec 15, 2016 11:46 PM

The Latest on Uber's showdown with California regulators over self-driving cars in San Francisco (all times local):

8:30 p.m.

A spokeswoman for California transportation regulators says that negotiations over whether Uber must stop its newly launched self-driving car service in San Francisco concluded Thursday without a clear resolution.

The state has threatened legal action if the ride-hailing company continues to pick up passengers in a handful of cars without having gone through a permitting process. Uber says the cars are exempt from the permit requirement because they have a backup driver behind the wheel who must monitor the car's performance.

Melissa Figueroa, a spokeswoman for California's State Transportation Agency, tells The Associated Press that the two sides had a "positive conversation" that will resume Friday morning.

Uber did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

Meanwhile, the cars could be seen traveling San Francisco's streets Thursday evening.

6 p.m.

The mayor of San Francisco is demanding that Uber stop picking up passengers in self-driving cars as part of the ride-hailing company's newly launched service in his city.

Mayor Ed Lee says through spokeswoman Ellen Canale that his concern is public safety and he wants Uber to suspend the service until it gets permission from state regulators.

Lee joins California officials, who also insist Uber must shut down the service until the company obtains a special permit for testing its Volvo SUVs on public roads. Uber says the cars are exempt from the permit requirement because they have a backup driver behind the wheel who must monitor the car's performance.

Uber launched the service Tuesday, making San Francisco the second city where passengers can get into one of its self-driving cars.

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3 p.m.

California regulators are meeting privately Thursday with officials from Uber to hammer home their demand that the ride-hailing company immediately stop picking up San Francisco passengers in self-driving cars — or face legal action.

Safety was sure to be front and center: Dash cam video posted online showed a self-driving Uber run a red light Wednesday, the same day the company launched the pilot program with several Volvo SUVs.

Publicly, both sides have dug into opposing positions. The state insists Uber must shut down the new self-driving service until it obtains a special permit for testing on public roads, while Uber says the cars are exempt from the permit requirement because they have a backup driver behind the wheel who must monitor the car's performance.

On Thursday, Uber attributed the red light infraction to "human error" and said the driver had been suspended.