Lawyers are urging Uber to do the right thing and cancel its upcoming self-driving car trial that could see up to 400 drivers lose their jobs over allegations they weren’t properly trained.
The California-based ride-hailing company is facing an investigation by the California Highway Patrol and California Attorney General Kamala Harris for its use of self-propelled, self-parking pods that were tested on California roads without proper safety measures.
California law requires a self-pilot mode in self-charging pods that is supposed to only take over when the vehicle is at a safe distance from other vehicles and has been operated safely for the first few seconds of the operation.
Uber’s self-racing pods are supposed to operate in the same way as traditional cars.
But the ride-sharing app is testing them in California’s congested city centers where drivers are already accustomed to driving in self driving pods.
The trial could force Uber to pay a $1 billion fine to drivers in California.
The California Highway Safety Division is also investigating the company.
Uber said it is cooperating with the investigation.
“We are deeply concerned about the potential harm to California’s drivers and the state’s economy,” Uber said in a statement.
“We look forward to the full report from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and will take whatever steps are needed to resolve this matter.”
California is in the middle of a nationwide debate about the safety of self driving cars and self-regulation of driverless vehicles.
Uber says it has had its self-facing cameras tested on public roads and has received positive feedback.
But it has not been able to prove that drivers are adequately trained to operate the vehicles and that their self-guided pods are safe for use on public streets.
Uber has been fighting to get the trial canceled, arguing that the vehicles will be used to improve public safety and that drivers won’t be paid if the trials prove unsuccessful.
The company said in February that its self driving pod trials were a success in California and other states.