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Uber ordered to halt self-driving cars on SF streets

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A screenshot from a video taken from the dashboard camera of a Luxor Cab that appears to show an Uber self-driving vehicle running a red light in the South of Market neighborhood on Wednesday. (Courtesy photo)

UPDATE 6:02 P.M.:

The California DMV on Wednesday threatened legal action against the use of self-driving Uber vehicles on San Francisco streets, saying the company first needed to obtain a permit for such a purpose.

That means the self-driving cars must be taken off the roadways until the company gets a state permit.

SEE RELATED: Video appears to show Uber self-driving car running red light in SF

Uber’s action is illegal, California DMV Deputy Director Brian G. Soublet wrote in a letter to Uber late Wednesday, which was also sent to press.

Soublet added that the ride-hail behemoth was required to obtain an autonomous vehicle testing permit before operating self-driving vehicles on city streets.

“If Uber does not confirm immediately that it will stop its launch and seek a testing permit, DMV will initiate legal action,” the DMV wrote, “including, but not limited to, seeking injunctive relief.”

At least two incidents of self-driving Uber vehicles appearing to run red lights were documented Wednesday morning after the car service rolled out earlier in the day.

Paul Rose, an SFMTA spokesperson, said the agency hopes to play a part in regulating the new self-driving vehicles.

“We are willing to work with companies who want bring self-driving cars to San Francisco,” Rose said in a statement. “Like all new transportation initiatives, we look forward to being at the table to ensure that they operate safely, are accessible and help achieve our overall transportation goals.”

He added, “The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has lobbied the California Public Utilities Commission, which in part regulates Uber and Lyft, to allow local regulation of ride-hails.”

This is a breaking story. Check back for updates.

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