Uber’s driverless truck division “Otto” is under government investigation following reports that the company performed illegal test runs in the state of California.
The California DMV in conjunction with the California Highway Patrol will be inspecting Uber’s self driving truck headquarters in San Francisco to try to determine whether the company has been testing trucks illegally on the state’s roads.
Investigators to Look Into Possible Illegal Autonomous Vehicle Testing
The investigation comes after an internal memo surfaced that suggested that Uber was testing driverless trucks on California highways on a regular basis, according to Forbes. This memo contradicted what Uber told the California DMV — namely that they were not operating trucks autonomously. Further, Uber reportedly told Colorado transportation officials that their testing procedure involved shifting between manual and autonomous driving. Uber claims, however, that they are only testing technology that assists truck drivers in the state of California.
California state law outlaws testing any autonomous vehicle weighing more than 10,000 pounds on public roads.
This isn’t the first time that Uber’s autonomous vehicle testing practices have run afoul of the law. Last year the company reportedly tested an autonomous truck on I-80 in Nevada in spite of warnings from the state’s DMV that the tests were illegal. Uber’s Otto did not face any serious penalties for the alleged violation simply because there are no serious penalties for the illegal act on the books.
The news of this investigation comes on the heels of a report published today that Otto co-founder Anthony Levandowski was fired after he allegedly stole self-driving vehicle trade secrets from Google.