The California DMV sent Uber a letter on Wednesday afternoon, telling the ride-hailing company to stop the launch of its self-driving car pilot or face legal action.
“Had Uber obtained an autonomous vehicle testing permit prior to today, the company’s launch would have been permissible,” the DMV said. “… If Uber does not confirm immediately that it will stop its launch and seek a testing permit, DMV will initiate legal action, including, but not limited to, seeking injunctive relief.”
In a press call with reporters, DMV deputy director and chief counsel Brian Soublet said that he first became aware that Uber was testing its self-driving car a month ago at a public meeting. At the time, he told Uber that he believed the vehicle was autonomous and that they should have a further discussion on it.
“We did not have a discussion and they went forward with it,” Soublet said.
The DMV spoke to Levandowski again early on Tuesday morning a day before the vehicle launch and “had concerns” that the system was more than an advanced vehicle lane keep system. Uber launched regardless and without the permit the DMV believed to be required.
Here’s a copy of the full letter the DMV sent Wednesday to Anthony Levandowski, Uber’s head of self-driving car technology:
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