Thursday, December 29, 2016

Uber Picked Up Its Toys and Went To Arizona

As (almost) foretold by the prophecy.*
I get a kick out of the fact the author refers to Uber and the other autonomous vehicle testers as "the innovator" and "the innovators".
From The Hill, Dec. 29:

Why Uber moved its fleet from California to Arizona
States are the laboratories of democracy. One state can choose to heavily regulate an emerging industry, while another state is free to take a permissive approach to the technology.

The laboratory concept is on full display between California and Arizona. Uber, the transportation disruption company, recently announced it would launch autonomous vehicle services in San Francisco to compliment its Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania fleet. Instead of welcoming the announcement with open arms, the State of California ordered Uber to cease autonomous operations until such time as Uber could comply with California’s regulatory scheme.

Uber decided California opposed the introduction of new transportation technologies, promptly moving its entire San Francisco autonomous fleet to Arizona. Gov. Doug Ducey welcomed Uber’s announcement. “While California puts the brakes on innovation and change with more bureaucracy and more regulation, Arizona is paving the way for new technology and new businesses,” Ducey said.

California heavily regulates emerging, autonomous vehicle technologies, while Arizona takes a much more permissive approach. California wants developers to ask permission first, while Arizona has exhibited a desire to learn what challenges emerging technologies will actually face.

California’s autonomous vehicle regulations number some 35 pages. The regulations govern everything from insurance, to driver and driver testing requirements, to the vehicles themselves. The regulations prohibit the testing of autonomous technologies on public roads, unless the innovator meets certain other requirements. Once an innovator satisfies those requirements, California limits the number of autonomous vehicles to ten per innovator. This is not ten on the road at a time, but ten total autonomous vehicles.

If these requirements are not enough, California requires innovators to report any accident, whether the vehicle was in autonomous mode or not, within ten days of the accident. Even worse, California requires innovators to report any time a driver disengages a vehicle’s autonomous mode. The innovator must include in the disengagement report, “the location: interstate, freeway, highway, rural road, street, or parking facility” along with the “facts causing the disengagement including: weather conditions, road surfaces, construction, emergencies, accidents or collisions, or whether the disengagement was the result of a planned test.”...MORE
*At about the same time I was posting "As Uber Pulls Autonomous Vehicles Off San Francisco Streets, A Meta-Analysis Of Uber's Bargaining Stance In California" last Thursday:
...The one question that comes to mind is will Kalanick attempt the petulent 'bro' manipulator move of taking the testing to Nevada or Michigan with a "see what you made us do!" 
Uber was actually loading the cars onto their OTTO autonomous trucks-presumably not in autonomous mode-and heading off to Arizona. Missed it by |...| that much.

Doing the point/counterpoint to The Hill, here's Silicon Valley's hometown newspaper, the San Jose Mercury News with an editorial (and a picture), Dec. 23:

Self-driving Uber cars head to Arizona after the company was forced to remove them from San Francisco streets. (Courtesy of Uber)
Self-driving Uber cars head to Arizona after the company was forced to remove them from San Francisco streets. 
(Courtesy of Uber) 

Arizona’s Uber gain is not necessarily California’s loss 
Gov. Doug Ducey, you’re welcome!

Over the past week, you got a lot of mileage for yourself and the great state of Arizona thanks to California.

You also got a bunch of Uber self-driving cars, fresh from their week of driving around San Francisco, ducking pedestrians and bicyclists, without the required DMV permit.

No need to reciprocate with the people of California. We’re good.

We are so used to hearing how the Golden State is losing jobs to other regions like Texas – even as our economy grows – that we often tune out those who attack the state to sell their own.
Sometimes, we really do lose out. See Tesla’s decision to build its gigafactory in Reno, Nevada. That hurt. But particularly in this economic cycle, companies continue to come to California to set up innovation centers in Silicon Valley, wanting to be in this ecosystem. It’s never been just about the weather.

This time, Arizona’s gain isn’t California’s loss.

Governor, there is something a tad unseemly, if you don’t mind me saying, about celebrating the way Uber thumbed its nose at another state’s rules.

Shouldn’t alarm bells go off if your main selling point is a lack of regulations? What’s the message to companies? If you can make it in Arizona, you still have to learn how to make it everywhere else?

See, there are 20 other companies here testing self-driving cars and following the rules. And in doing so, they are building trust with the public and officials for the eventual widespread adoption of this new transportation technology. That’s how changing society is done.

To be fair, Governor, you deserve enormous credit. Like any good politician, you saw an opportunity in California’s dustup with Uber and launched an old-fashioned state versus state smack down.

As the drama was unfolding here, you didn’t waste time. You took to Twitter to lobby Uber and poke fun at California officials for being uptight bureaucrats in love with regulation. The hashtag #ditchCalifornia was a nice touch of marketing and the giant banner at the Phoenix state building that read, “AZ welcomes Uber! #ChooseAZ” was impressive. How did you get it printed so fast?

On CNBC Friday, you rolled out the welcome mat even wider, saying that in the Copper State, entrepreneurs “are not going to have overly-aggressive government bureaucrats. I want entrepreneurs around the country to see Arizona as the place to be.”

And like any savvy politician would, you personally welcomed the flatbed truck of Uber cars as if it was a cargo of cash being driven by a Hollywood starlet....MORE
Interesting mental image there, truckloads of cash being driven by Hollywood starlets.
The woman does know how to write to make sure one is paying attention.