Uber is relocating its San Francisco self-driving car fleet to Arizona, where it says it has the support of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. The fleet of cars were hauled away on flat-beds towed by Uber’s Otto self-driving big rigs, though the trucks do not appear to have been autonomously driving to Arizona.
“Our cars departed for Arizona this morning by truck,” said an Uber spokesperson in an email to The Verge. “We’ll be expanding our self-driving pilot there in the next few weeks, and we’re excited to have the support of Governor Ducey.”
The move comes after California’s Department of Motor Vehicles revoked the registration of Uber’s 16 self-driving cars because the company refused to apply for the appropriate permits for testing autonomous cars.
“Arizona welcomes Uber self-driving cars with open arms and wide open roads,” said Governor Ducey in a statement. “While California puts the brakes on innovation and change with more bureaucracy and more regulation, Arizona is paving the way for new technology and new businesses.”
The drama between Uber and the California DMV lasted just over a week, with the ride-sharing company launching its autonomous pilot program in San Francisco last Wednesday. Uber felt that California’s self-driving regulations (and, crucially, a requirement that it get a $150 permit and submit detailed accident disclosures) didn't to apply to its cars because there was always a driver present and ready to take over.
The California DMV said Uber needed to get the permit, Uber refused, and California called the company’s bluff and revoked the registration of the 16 cars. The joke’s on California though, as the fleet of self-driving cars move to a state with a much more favorable regulatory environment regarding self-driving car testing.
Google/Waymo sent its cars to Arizona for testing earlier this year, the fourth state for its self-driving pilots after California, Texas, and Washington.