Regulators In California Investigating Uber’s Self-Driving Truck Unit (Otto) For “Unapproved” Testing

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Regulators in California are now investigating Uber’s self-driving truck unit, the result of the firm’s acquisition of Otto, in relation to possibly unapproved testing operations.

To be more clear, authorities are seeking to determine if Uber has been testing self-driving truck tech on the roads of California without having obtained permission first.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles are coordinating with the California Highway Patrol to inspect the unit’s headquarters in order to “see the capabilities of Otto’s trucks in person,” according to the DMV.

Forbes provides more:

“The inspection comes months after the publication of an internal Otto document from 2016 detailing the company’s testing procedures for its self-driving semi-trucks.

“The document, which describes how ‘Otto trucks drive the highways surrounding San Francisco on a daily basis,’ appears to contradict what Otto told state regulators about its program at a Feb. 24 meeting. At that time, Otto told the DMV that its trucks were not being operated autonomously, according to agency officials. Otto’s description of testing procedures in a document prepared for officials in Colorado, however, seems at odds with this assessment. The document details how technicians are to engage autonomous software and disengage when conditions are too complicated for the system to handle safely. Industry experts and California officials who reviewed the document agreed that it described autonomous driving.

“The discrepancy between what Otto explained in writing to Colorado officials last year and what it subsequently told California officials is the primary reason for the upcoming inspection in San Francisco.”

This news follows on months now of bad PR for Uber, which seems to be headed by execs who believe they have the option of doing whatever they want without ever having to have any accountability for the actions taken. Considering that last statement of mine probably describes execs at most companies nowadays, the fact that Uber has been featuring in the news negatively to such an extent as of late is pretty amazing — it seems company execs are unbelievably arrogant and/or there is an active negative PR campaign against the company that is proving itself to be very effective.

Whatever the reality of the various allegations against Uber, it should be remembered here that Google/Waymo is probably not a great enemy to have.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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