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Uber Self-Driving Cars Hit The Streets Of San Francisco

Eric Risberg / AP

FILE - In this Dec. 16, 2014, file photo a man leaves the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco.

Eric Risberg / AP

(AP) - Uber says that passengers in San Francisco can now use its app to summon a ride in a car that can drive itself.

While Wednesday's launch may set the tech-steeped city abuzz, it could also antagonize California regulators, who require permits for testing self-driving prototypes in public.

Uber interprets the rules differently, arguing it doesn't need a permit because a human still needs to be behind the wheel, monitoring the technology and ready to seize control.

The move into Uber's hometown builds upon a public pilot program the company started in Pittsburgh in September.

In San Francisco, Uber is deploying a "handful" of Volvo luxury SUVs that have been tricked out with sensors so they can steer, accelerate and brake, even decide to change lanes.