Self-driving cars: Uber’s open defiance of California shines light on brazen tactics – Sam Levin in San Francisco @SamTLevin Friday 16 December 2016 06.00 EST


 Intense fight with the state, ignited after cars were caught running red lights, exposed illegal and unethical tactics the company has used for years, critics say

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Uber’s open defiance of California regulators marks the latest case of a ‘sharing economy’ corporation ignoring government under the guise of ‘disruption’ and ‘innovation’. | Photograph: Angelo Merendino/AFP/Getty Images

  Uber has launched an aggressive battle with California over its controversial self-driving cars, with regulators and consumer advocates accusing the corporation of flagrantly violating the law, endangering public safety and mistreating drivers.

The intense fight with the state – which ignited hours after numerous self-driving cars were caught running red lights in Uber’s home town – has exposed what critics say are the unethical and illegal tactics that the company has repeatedly used to grow its business.

The ride-sharing company, which launched semi-autonomous vehicles in San Francisco without permits this week, was ordered by the California department of motor vehicles (DMV) to immediately remove the cars from the road or face legal action.

But Uber, which has not publicly responded to the state’s demands, blamed the traffic light violations on “human error” and suspended the drivers who were monitoring the cars. This bold deflection of blame further highlights the corporation’s refusal to take responsibility for potential faults in its technology and raises questions about the dangers of prematurely rolling out self-driving vehicles.

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