Uber argued it did not need to apply for the DMV permits because the test vehicles were constantly monitored by company engineers.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles on Wednesday revoked the registration on all 16 of the vehicles involved in Uber’s self-driving ride-hailing pilot in San Francisco, forcing the company to shut down the program.
The decision follows repeated statements from the DMV warning that it would take action after Uber began the program without applying for state-mandated autonomous vehicle testing permits. Uber argued it did not need to apply for the permits because the vehicles were constantly monitored by company engineers.
"From a technology perspective, self-driving Ubers operate in the same way as vehicles equipped with advanced driver assist technologies, for example Tesla auto-pilot and other OEM’s traffic jam assist," Anthony Levandowski, head of Uber's Advanced Technologies Group, said in a statement.
The state disagreed, and followed up on its threat to take action against the company. Jean Shiomoto, director of the California DMV, informed Uber that its vehicles' registration had been revoked in a letter on Wednesday, and invited the company to apply for a testing permit.
"It was determined that the registrations were improperly issued for these vehicles because they were not properly marked as test vehicles," the agency said in a statement.
Though Uber has taken its vehicles off San Francisco roads, the company said in a statement that it will "be redoubling our efforts to develop workable statewide rules." In the meantime, Uber said it is looking for other locations to deploy the pilot program.