Dec. 20, 2016
Best of the States
Strong source work nets APNewsBreak in self-driving car showdown between Uber and Calif. officials
Los Angeles reporter Justin Pritchard has made the fledgling “autonomous vehicle” industry a sub-beat and has developed sourcing that has produced a number of significant beats for AP. When he heard Uber would begin picking up San Francisco passengers in its self-driving cars, he saw a confrontation brewing with California regulators and the opportunity for another scoop.
Uber had decided not to abide by a requirement to get a permit before starting its service in its hometown. Uber’s aggressive approach in San Francisco crashed a delicately crafted regulatory truce _ the 20 other companies testing prototypes on public roads applied for the permit before hitting the streets, and agreed to report crashes and other safety metrics.
The cars Uber was bringing to San Francisco seemed just the kind that would need a permit, but the leader of Uber’s self-driving program _ Anthony Levandowski _told Pritchard in an interview the day before the launch that they didn’t. He argued that because a person was behind the wheel to monitor the car, it was not advanced enough to need a permit.