On the first day in SF, Uber’s self-driving car ran a red light

It was all captured by a taxi’s dashboard camera.

On Wednesday, Uber rolled out a handful of its self-driving cars in San Francisco to be used by the public. Also on Wednesday, one of those cars ran a red light.

It’s not totally clear how that happened or who is at fault, since the cars have a safety driver ready to take over as well as an additional engineer. But it is very clear that the robot car — a Volvo XC90 the company developed in collaboration with the automaker — ran a red light.

Uber, unlike other companies operating self-driving cars on public roads in California, also hasn’t applied for a permit from the DMV, as is typically required. But Uber’s cars aren’t technically self-driving just yet.

Uber’s Volvos don’t work without a operator in the driver’s seat monitoring and partially controlling the car. The DMV isn’t satisfied with that explanation, however.

On the morning of Uber’s launch, the agency said:

“The California DMV encourages the responsible exploration of self-driving cars. We have a permitting process in place to ensure public safety as this technology is being tested. Twenty manufacturers have already obtained permits to test hundreds of cars on California roads. Uber shall do the same.”

We reached out to Uber for comment and will update when we hear back.

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