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The California DMV says Uber has to stop operating its self-driving cars in SF

The agency said it will have to take legal action otherwise.

TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2014 - Day 1 Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch

It’s been a very busy day for Uber.

In a letter addressed to Anthony Levandowski, the co-founder of Otto and now head of Uber’s self-driving unit, the California DMV demanded that the ride-hail company stop operating its fleet of self-driving cars.

The company just launched its self-driving pilot in San Francisco on Wednesday morning.

But Uber never applied for a DMV permit to operate autonomous vehicles on public roads in California, as is required. That’s because the company’s “handful” of Volvo XC90s aren’t fully self-driving and thus have a safety driver behind the wheel, according to Uber. (That didn’t stop one from running a red light, however.)

Nevertheless, the DMV says the company still is required to obtain a permit.

“Had Uber obtained an autonomous vehicle testing permit prior to today, the company’s launch would have been permissible,” the letter reads. “If Uber does not confirm immediately that it will stop and seek a testing permit, DMV will initiate legal action, including, but not limited to, seeking injunctive relief.”

The ride-hail company is no stranger to fighting local legal battles, especially in its home base. Uber spent much of the beginning of its existence launching in markets across the U.S. before receiving regulatory approval.

We’ve reached out to Uber for comment.

Here’s the letter from the DMV in full:

This article originally appeared on

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