California DMV investigates Uber's self-driving truck unit

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It’s an interesting week for Uber’s self-driving truck unit. The company has dropped the “Otto” name after a trademark dispute with a Canadian company. Now, as Forbes reports, the unit has come under scrutiny for possible breaking the law.

Last year, an internal Otto document prepared for Colorado officials surfaced, describing the company’s testing procedures. Otto had told the DMV that it hadn’t been testing trucks autonomously on public highways. The document, however, claims that “Otto trucks drive the highways surrounding San Francisco on a daily basis.” It also describes how technicians are to engage and disengage autonomous software.

California regulators will inspect Uber’s autonomous truck headquarters in San Francisco in an effort to determine if the company tested driverless trucks on public highways without permission. The California Department of Motor Vehicles and the California Highway Patrol will stop by to “see the capabilities of Otto’s trucks in person,” a DMV spokesperson tells Forbes.

“We keep the CA DMV abreast of our activities and have had multiple discussions with them regarding our operations,” said an Uber spokesperson, explaining that the trucks in California only use driver assist technology. “This technology is the essential foundation upon which autonomous technologies are built, but is not autonomous in itself.”

Several months ago, Uber tested self-driving cars in San Francisco without a permit. The DMV responded by revoking the registration of the vehicles.

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