Uber is bringing its self-driving Ford Fusions to San Francisco – but this time with its self-driving mode disabled.
The futuristic-looking Ubers will be reappearing on the streets of its hometown on Wednesday, nearly a month after the California DMV revoked its vehicle registrations in a very public dispute with the company.
The Ford Fusions, which had previously been used in the Pittsburgh self-driving car pilot, won’t be able to drive themselves though.
“These cars are being used for Uber’s mapping purposes only. They are being driven manually at all times and their self-driving systems are disabled,” Uber said in a statement.
The Ford Fusions had been driving around San Francisco since last summer to map its streets in advance of launching a self-driving car pilot. But both the self-driving car pilot and its mapping efforts were disbanded after the California DMV revoked the registrations on the basis that Uber failed to gain the necessary self-driving permits. Uber, for its part, has always argued that the self-driving permits do not apply to its vehicles.
For its mapping cars, though, California said it worked with the company to help reinstate their registrations on the condition that they’re strictly for mapping, according to a statement provided to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“The DMV worked with Uber to reinstate the registrations for five vehicles – with the full understanding that the vehicles will be used in a mapping capacity only,” Melissa Figueroa, a spokeswoman for the California State Transportation Agency, told the Chronicle. “Several companies in California use vehicles such as this for the same purpose. Should Uber decide they want to revisit the issue of self-driving technology on the streets and roads in California, the offer to help them secure proper permitting stands.”