Uber Won’t Need Permit From PUC For Self-Driving Cars Until It Starts Charging

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Uber can continue to offer rides in its fleet of self-driving cars in Pittsburgh without further permits as long as the trips remain free, according to a statement Thursday from the Pennsylvania Utilities Commission.

The ride-sharing giant started offering rides in its self-driving Ford Fusions on Wednesday. The rides are free “for now,” according to the email sent to users selected to participate in the pilot.

The company has not said when or if it would start charging for self-driving rides.

“Any business offering transportation services to the general public for compensation must secure proper authority from the PUC before beginning that service, and clearly demonstrate the technical ability to operate safely. To date, no entity has applied for such authority in Pennsylvania, and the commission has not authorized any use of fully-autonomous vehicles for transportation services that fall under the jurisdiction of the PUC.”

The statement from PUC, which slapped Uber with a record-setting $11 million fine this year for operating without a license when the ride-sharing giant first launched in Pennsylvania, does not mention the company specifically.

Uber did not immediately respond to the PUC's statement.

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