Uber is moving a test of its self-driving cars to Arizona after being handed a regulatory defeat in California. The company says it will begin a test of the self-driving vehicles in early 2017 in Phoenix. Uber is touting the support for its experiment of Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, who had issued a statement telling Uber “California may not want you, but we do.”
Ducey said he’d signed an executive order supporting testing and operation of autonomous vehicles in Arizona. On Twitter, he said of the California Department of Motor Vehicles’ treatment of Uber: “This is what over-regulation looks like.”
Uber’s announcement came less than a day after the California Department of Motor Vehicles said it would revoke the registrations of 16 Uber vehicles because the company refused to apply for a $150 permit for autonomous cars. According to Uber, the permit shouldn’t be required for its cars. Further, Uber encouraged its San Francisco customers to hail the vehicles in defiance of regulators.
In California, Uber had maintained it didn’t need the autonomous vehicle permit because the sport-utility vehicles it had deployed had a driver in them that could take over control whenever necessary, rendering them less than fully-autonomous. Regulators said the SUVs were illegal.