PHOENIX — A fleet of self-driving Uber cars left for Arizona on Thursday after they were banned from California roads over safety concerns.

The announcement came after Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey took to social media Wednesday and Thursday touting Arizona as an alternative to California for the ride-hailing company to test out its self-driving cars.

Ducey, a Republican, sent tweets advertising Arizona’s friendly business environment, saying Uber should ditch California for the Grand Canyon state.

Uber said that it had shipped its cars to Arizona and will be expanding its self-driving pilot program in the next few weeks. The company hasn’t announced a date when the cars will be tested, nor did it provide details about how many cars were included. Uber previously had 16 self-driving cars registered in California.

“Arizona welcomes Uber self-driving cars with open arms and wide open roads. 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,” Ducey said in a statement.

Ducey spokesman Daniel Scarpinato said the governor has been a strong supporter of driverless car technology and new business models, signing in August 2015 an executive order supporting the testing of such cars in Arizona.

Uber faced immediate backlash after it launched its California testing in San Francisco last week. The California Department of Motor Vehicles had threatened legal action if Uber kept the cars on the road, saying they needed the same special permit as the 20 other companies testing self-driving technology in California.


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