Mayor Lee demands Uber obtain permit for self-driving vehicles on SF streets

(S.F. Examiner file photo)

Uber self-driving vehicles were still traveling on San Francisco streets Thursday without permission or permits from state regulators, a day after the ride-hail giant was threatened with legal action by the California DMV the same day it rolled out the self-driving vehicles.

Now Mayor Ed Lee has issued a statement strongly condemning Uber’s actions.

“The mayor demands Uber to stop the unpermitted and unlawful testing of autonomous vehicles on the streets of San Francisco until they obtain the appropriate permitting from the DMV,” wrote Ellen Canale, a spokesperson for Mayor Ed Lee, in a statement to the San Francisco Examiner.

SEE RELATED: Uber offered self-driving rides to state lawmakers days before illegal SF launch

“The mayor expects Uber to do what is required by law and obtain a permit from the DMV, just like every other company testing autonomous vehicles in San Francisco,” Canale said.

“This is not just a matter of following the law, it’s a matter of public safety,” she wrote. “Our primary concern is keeping our streets safe for pedestrians, cyclists and other motorists. Street safety is especially important this week as San Francisco deals with inclement weather.”

In a blog post Wednesday Uber has contested it does not need self-driving vehicle testing permits because it has someone in the driver’s seat to take over a vehicle.

But the DMV disagreed, and said many other companies testing self-driving vehicles obtained permits to do so.

A source with close knowledge on the matter also told the Examiner that the mayor asked the San Francisco Police Department to investigate if The City had legal authority to impound Uber’s autonomous vehicles.

They found they could not legally do so.

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