In Brief
  • Right after the DMV ordered Uber's self-driving tests off of San Fransico roads, two incidents of their self driving cars running red lights were witnessed.
  • A lack of legislation and regulation puts any violations incurred by autonomous vehicles in a legal gray area that must be worked out in the near future.

Uber’s San Francisco trial run of its self-driving service last Tuesday is catching people’s attention. Unfortunately, it might not exactly be the kind of hype that Uber hoped for. As previously noted, the ride-hailing service company’s autonomous vehicle test drive in its hometown was given a red light by the California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

To make things even more interesting, Uber’s self-driving cars were caught beating non-metaphorical red lights on two separate occasions — and in both instances, the vehicles seemed to be the Volvo XC90, launched the same day as Uber’s test run.

Here’s the video of the erring Uber captured by Charles Rotter, operations manager at traditional cab company Luxor.

According to an Uber spokesperson, “These incidents were due to human error. This is why we believe so much in making the roads safer by building self-driving Ubers. The drivers involved have been suspended while we continue to investigate.”

The incident was also witnessed by San Fransico writer and producer Annie Guas as she was travelling by a (human piloted) Lyft. She sounded off on Twitter:

As there are no current laws governing self-driving cars in the San Fransisco area, there is little consensus on what could or would be done. When a police officer was asked about the incident she stated, “First comes technology, then comes policy. It’s going to be a matter of setting some precedents,” said officer Giselle Talkoff, adding, “The companies that are putting these vehicles on the road should have their vehicles operate with due regard to the rules of the road.”