Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s staff worked with ridesharing company Uber to launch the company’s experimental autonomous vehicle program without informing the public, emails obtained by the Guardian revealed.
The conversations between Ashwini Chhabra, the head of policy development at Uber, and Ducey’s deputy chief of staff Danny Seiden show that the state willingly accommodated Uber’s self-driving cars — a considerable departure from the government’s harsh words for the company following a fatal accident involving one of the vehicles.
According to the emails published by the Guardian, Chhabra contacted Seiden on Aug. 19, 2016, to alert him that Uber would begin “testing some self-driving functionality” starting that weekend.
“There will be safety drivers at the wheel, so won’t look much different from what’s already been on the road but wanted to flag it for you nonetheless,” Chhabra promised.