California officials will soon inspect the headquarters of Uber’s self-driving-truck division, formerly known as Otto, to help settle a lingering question — whether the company’s tests on public roads violate state regulations. Representatives of the Department of Motor Vehicles and the California Highway Patrol plan to visit the San Francisco facility sometime in the coming weeks, a DMV spokesman said Friday. The specific date has not been set. Consumer Watchdog filed a complaint with the department in February, arguing that Otto’s tests of self-driving trucks on the freeways around San Francisco broke state rules governing autonomous vehicles. Those regulations dictate that vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds “shall not be approved for testing as autonomous vehicles on public roads,” and tractor cabs typically weigh 15,000 pounds or more. Ride service Uber, which bought Otto for $680 million last year, argues that the trucks should not be considered autonomous because they require someone behind the wheel ready to take control as needed. And yet, all companies currently testing self-driving cars on California roads follow that same protocol. Department spokesman Artemio Armenta said DMV officials had a “productive” meeting with Uber executives in February. The company, he said, maintained that the technology… Read full this story
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