Driverless Cars

Uber’s Self-Driving Cars Set Up In Brown-Nosing Arizona

After being kicked out of California, Uber's autonomous cars are driving around their new home.

Driverless Cars
REUTERS
Feb 22, 2017 at 11:42 AM ET

Uber’s self-driving cars, last seen escaping the oppressive regulations of California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (which every other self-driving car program seemingly had no issue with), are now driving themselves around a new city: Tempe, Arizona.

Yes, Uber users in and around Tempe may find themselves in a self-driving car when they request their next Uber. The program will work the same way as it did in Pittsburgh, where Uber’s self-driving cars first began picking up passengers back in September.

The governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey, welcomed Uber with open arms. When Uber left California last December, Ducey issued a statement that put the neighboring state down while lifting up his own: “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.”

When Uber’s self-driving cars hit the road on Tuesday, Ducey was among their first passengers.

The Arizona launch comes just a few days after Uber was caught in another storm of controversy. Last Sunday, a former engineer wrote a blog post describing her experience working in an environment she said was openly hostile to female employees, with a human resources department that seemed completely uninterested in holding men accountable when they were the subject of complaints. Uber has promised to investigate her claims, and CEO Travis Kalanick said the behavior described in the blog post was “abhorrent” and “against everything Uber stands for.”

Uber’s self-driving vehicles were forced to leave California after they hit the roads without obtaining permits that the state’s DMV said were necessary. Uber claimed its cars were not autonomous enough to require them, but the DMV pulled their registrations anyway.