Uber, the ride-sharing service that has upended the personal transportation market, has become famous for its clashes with some local governments. The company found itself driven out of Austin entirely for refusing to put up with what it considered onerous rules for vetting drivers. Houston has struck a temporary compromise with the ride sharing company that will last at least through the Super Bowl.

In the meantime, ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft are working with the Texas state legislature to come up with state-wide regulations that will be acceptable for all parties involved.

The latest political battle Uber is engaged is with the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The ride sharing company has started testing driverless cars, albeit equipped with a technician in the driver’s seat, in San Francisco similar to a test regime that is has operated in Pittsburgh.

The California DMV has told Uber to stop until it gets a permit. Uber has responded that it doesn’t need a permit as the cars are not, technically, driverless.

The imbroglio has caused the LA Times to sniff that if Uber is not willing to follow the rules, it should test its driverless cars elsewhere. The demand is astonishing considering California’s former reputation, albeit now tarnished, as a state where the future begins.

It is, after all, the home of Silicon Valley and a great deal of the aerospace industry. But California seems not to be able to adapt to the growing realities of how driverless cars are going to change the way we travel. On the other hand, Uber is showing, once again, a vigorous disregard for government bureaucrats and their demands.

Thus far fears about public safety have proven to be unfounded.

One Uber car has run a red light, something that has been known to happen on a regular basis with conventional motor vehicles. However, the controversy causes one to imagine how far Henry Ford or the Wight Brothers would have gotten if they had been forced to get government permits for developing the mass produced automobile and the air plane respectively. You can have technological progress or bureaucratic government but you cannot have both.

Don't miss our page on Facebook!
Click to read more