California slams brakes on Uber’s self-driving cars

Last Updated Dec 22, 2016 7:58 AM EST

California slammed the brakes on Uber’s self-driving car pilot program on Wednesday -- only a week after the ride sharing giant debuted its technology in San Francisco, reports CBS News correspondent Carter Evans. The ride-hailing giant pulled its fleet off the streets of San Francisco following a meeting Wednesday with lawyers from California’s DMV. 

The DMV revoked the registration of 16 Uber self-driving cars saying in a statement: “It was determined that the registrations were improperly issued for these vehicles because they were not properly marked as test vehicles.”

“He should not be operating his driverless vehicle technology on our streets without that permit,” San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said, referring to Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.

Kalanick’s company publically ignored the state’s week-long request to pull their self-driving cars from the road over their failure to obtain the proper permits.    

California officials take Uber's self driving cars off the road

Uber persistently argued its self-driving cars are not fully autonomous because of the presence of a front seat driver and therefore did not need a permit.

But on Wednesday, Uber caved to state regulators, saying: “We have stopped our self-driving pilot in California as the DMV has revoked the registrations for our self-driving cars. We’re now looking at where we can redeploy these cars but remain 100 percent committed to California and will be redoubling our efforts to develop workable statewide rules.”

“Uber made a play that didn’t work out in their favor… and this technology is very new and we don’t know how it’s going to play out in a regulatory sense yet,” The Verge senior transportation reporter Tamara Warren said. 

A video appearing to show one of their self-driving vehicles running a red light may have complicated Uber’s argument. It happened on the day of the program’s rollout. Uber maintains the car in the video wasn’t part of the program and wasn’t carrying passengers.  

“I’m a big supporter of driver-less technology, but we are going to have a set-back if people aren’t putting safety as their number one concern,” Mayor Lee said.