Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Uber Shrugged: Company Flees California for Red State to Test New Tech

 
Gov. Doug Ducey welcomes Uber’s self-driving fleet to Arizona, Dec. 22, 2016. (Photo source.)

Silicon Valley is known as the home of tech innovation, so it’s no surprise Uber chose San Francisco as the test site for their ride-sharing app in 2011. But now that Uber’s successful, the once Golden State wants to tangle their future research in red tape.

Uber began testing a fleet of 16 self-driving Volvo SUVs in San Francisco on December 14. A week later, California’s Department of Motor Vehicles revoked all 16 registrations, insisting that a special permit was required and that Uber must publicly report statistics from their R&D program. Not wanting to invest millions in research to benefit their competitors, the company sought a state that celebrates entrepreneurship.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey told Uber, “California may not want you, but we do.” So, on Thursday, the company shipped all their self-driving vehicles to the state capitol in Phoenix to be met personally by Ducey in a public celebration.

“Arizona welcomes Uber self-driving cars with open arms and wide open roads,” Ducey said in his statement. “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. In 2015, I signed an executive order supporting the testing and operation of self-driving cars in Arizona with an emphasis on innovation, economic growth, and most importantly, public safety. This is about economic development, but it’s also about changing the way we live and work. Arizona is proud to be open for business.”

This is far from the first time a business has fled California’s anti-business climate. Arizona has gained 83 companies and more than 12,000 jobs due to California’s meddling bureaucracy, including investments by Google, Lucid Motors, and McKesson Corporation. Add in Texas, Nevada, and other red states, and you have an Atlas Shrugged-style exodus.

California’s losses and the rest of the southwest’s gains show what happens when government gets out of the way — and what happens when it doesn’t.

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  1. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Utah is getting a lot of tech companies coming in as well, including Intel and Micron, and Adobe. In fact the area they are moving in has been called “Silicon Slope.”

    Only caveat: they’re bringing Californians with them …

    • #1
    • December 23, 2016, at 1:59 PM PST
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  2. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge

    Seems like most of California’s regulatory environment consists largely of “That shalt not”, and when permission is granted some years and millions of non-productive dollars spent later, the next statement is heard is “Thou shall”, immediately followed by a stack of regulations climbing higher than the tower of Babel. The regulatory stack also unsurprisingly sports the tower’s inherent dissonant impacts.

    In other news, federalism works. It will continue to do so until those who would see otherwise are stripped from office, and the entrenched bureaucratic leeches are beaten from Fort Independence.

    • #2
    • December 23, 2016, at 2:00 PM PST
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  3. Titus Techera Contributor

    Sounds interesting. I hope this works out & I wonder how state boundaries are going to deal with self-driving cars!

    Are less regulated stated going to get some kind of social advantage out of being testing grounds for new tech? There are certainly going to be some economic advantages–but I don’t know how they’ll be distributed in Arizona or any other place, for that matter…

    It’s also worth investing in getting tech companies to move to conservatives states & getting conservatives to think more about how tech can help the kinds of things conservatives want to have in America. I’ve not yet heard of serious improvements to communities that come from the new tech that’s so important to the American & world economy. Probably, there’s stuff there…

    • #3
    • December 23, 2016, at 2:27 PM PST
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  4. Retail Lawyer Member

    I’m not sure Uber is so successful. Business Week reports they will post a loss of $2.8 billion in 2016. Pretty soon we’ll be talking about real money!

    To be sure, California is over-regulated. But like every jurisdiction, it deserves to have its laws respected or changed. Uber’s governing philosophy is the same as the Obama administration – the law is for other people. They ignore and break the law everywhere.

    I would love to see the entire entity move out of my community. Let Arizona residents be crash test dummies for their utopian scheme. The scheme of driverless cars is utopian because it ignores human nature. They will be mercilessly gamed by pedestrians and drivers. Imagine the fun to be had by anti-car anarchists as they just cross any street anywhere bringing traffic to a halt. Imagine the begging advantages to be gained by homeless citizens stepping out into traffic demanding money to let the car pass. Imagine the custom of taking turns going away as aggressive drivers bully the driverless cars. Imagine forced updates to ever changing software and hackers that makes Adobe Flash seem trouble free.

    Yeah, this will work out well.

    • #4
    • December 24, 2016, at 8:26 AM PST
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  5. Titus Techera Contributor

    I just used Uber for the first time in Bucharest after trying it out some in America. I’m not sure if it’s better than the local taxi services, which at this point have their own apps. There’s more tech involved & there might be certain advantages to navigation, but I’m waiting to see. If they can make it more reliable, at least, they might have an advantage. The fact that you can only pay by card online will probably be a drawback for the near future.

    The driver said he’d only started about two months back & liked it for the same reasons one always hears: You make your own schedule & you get a kind of safety. On the one hand, he had plans to change his car some to be a better business asset for him; on the other, he was wary lest local interests should ban the service–he knows there’s been trouble in one Romanian city, but the company is expanding in others. He was sure this ultimately will come down to the interests of the kind of people whose interests matter–unlike his, for example. He was not at all enthusiastic, as you can see. But even marginal differences can make themselves felt.

    • #5
    • December 24, 2016, at 8:36 AM PST
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  6. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Titus Techera:I just used Uber for the first time in Bucharest after trying it out some in America. I’m not sure if it’s better than the local taxi services, which at this point have their own apps. There’s more tech involved & there might be certain advantages to navigation, but I’m waiting to see. If they can make it more reliable, at least, they might have an advantage. The fact that you can only pay by card online will probably be a drawback for the near future.

    The driver said he’d only started about two months back & liked it for the same reasons one always hears: You make your own schedule & you get a kind of safety. On the one hand, he had plans to change his car some to be a better business asset for him; on the other, he was wary lest local interests should ban the service–he knows there’s been trouble in one Romanian city, but the company is expanding in others. He was sure this ultimately will come down to the interests of the kind of people whose interests matter–unlike his, for example. He was not at all enthusiastic, as you can see. But even marginal differences can make themselves felt.

    View comment in context.

    A lot of the advantage of Uber here in the US is that taxi services are usually clogged with a ton of red tape wherever you go. There’s a couple cities where having a taxi is so prohibitively expensive it’s impossible for a single individual to get anywhere without latching on to one of the major companies. Uber has in most cases helped these people to bypass this regulation — though in some cities, like Austin, they just expanded the bureaucratic red tape to cover Uber, too.

    • #6
    • December 27, 2016, at 8:12 AM PST
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  7. Titus Techera Contributor

    That taxi-incompetence is why I started using Uber in the US, too… Some of my American friends like taxis ok, for their purposes–I think they’re right, too–as it were, taxis might still work for travel habits of a generation back.

    • #7
    • December 27, 2016, at 8:25 AM PST
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