“AZ Welcomes Uber! #chooseAZ.”

Uber will be setting up shop for its fleet of self-driving cars in Tempe, according to Gov. Doug Ducey’s office.

Ducey on social media aggressively wooed the ride-hailing technology company last week as it tussled with California state transportation officials over whether a permit was needed to test self-driving cars in San Francisco.

“This is what OVER-regulation looks like! #ditchcalifornia,” Ducey said in a Dec. 21 tweet, quickly followed by “California may not want you: but AZ does!”

Uber took California regulators by surprise when it suddenly began testing self-driving Volvos on San Francisco streets. State officials insisted that Uber needed to apply for and receive a $150 permit.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Uber insisted that the vehicles were not fully autonomous, since they had drivers behind the wheel ready to take control if needed. On Dec. 22, after the state revoked the registrations of the vehicles, Uber loaded its cars onto the back of a self-driving Otto truck, a startup that Uber acquired in August.

On Dec. 23, the truck made a pit stop at the Arizona State Capitol, where it was welcomed by Ducey and other officials. A hastily made banner hanging from the Executive Tower said: “AZ Welcomes Uber! #chooseAZ.”

“We’ll be expanding our self-driving pilot there in the next few weeks,” Uber said in a statement, “and we’re excited to have the support of Gov. Ducey.”

Ducey has been an avid supporter of self-driving car technology, citing the benefits it will have for disabled drivers and increased productivity for business. He signed an executive order last year supporting the testing and operation of self-driving cars, and he took his first ride in a Waymo (formerly Google) self-driving Lexus in Chandler Dec. 15.

Uber didn’t say how many self-driving test cars would be hitting East Valley streets. Sixteen were being tested in San Francisco. The company also tests vehicles in Pittsburgh.

Uber is pursuing self-driving technology because eliminating drivers would dramatically boost the transportation company’s bottom line. Company officials have also said that they believe it will ultimately be cheaper for many consumers to hail Uber self-driving cars rather than own a self-driving car outright.

(1) comment

BradHolister

Good Post
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