The Latest: Uber to keep self-driving cars in San Francisco

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  • In this photo taken Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, Anthony Levandowski, head of Uber's self-driving program, speaks about their driverless car in San Francisco.   The ride-hailing company is refusing to obey demands by the state's Department of Motor Vehicles that it stop picking up San Francisco passengers in specially equipped Volvo SUVs. Hours after Uber launched the self-driving service Wednesday, Dec. 14,  the DMV warned it was illegal because the cars did not have a special permit.  (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

    In this photo taken Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, Anthony Levandowski, head of Uber's self-driving program, speaks about their driverless car in San Francisco. The ride-hailing company is refusing to obey demands by the state's Department of Motor ... Vehicles that it stop picking up San Francisco passengers in specially equipped Volvo SUVs. Hours after Uber launched the self-driving service Wednesday, Dec. 14, the DMV warned it was illegal because the cars did not have a special permit. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg) (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, an Uber driverless car heads out for a test drive in San Francisco.   The ride-hailing company is refusing to obey demands by the state's Department of Motor Vehicles that it stop picking up San Francisco passengers in specially equipped Volvo SUVs. Hours after Uber launched the self-driving service Wednesday, Dec. 14,  the DMV warned it was illegal because the cars did not have a special permit.  (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

    In this photo taken Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, an Uber driverless car heads out for a test drive in San Francisco. The ride-hailing company is refusing to obey demands by the state's Department of Motor Vehicles that it stop picking up San Francisco ... passengers in specially equipped Volvo SUVs. Hours after Uber launched the self-driving service Wednesday, Dec. 14, the DMV warned it was illegal because the cars did not have a special permit. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg) (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, Devin Greene sits in the front seat of an Uber driverless car during a test drive in San Francisco.   The ride-hailing company is refusing to obey demands by the state's Department of Motor Vehicles that it stop picking up San Francisco passengers in specially equipped Volvo SUVs. Hours after Uber launched the self-driving service Wednesday, Dec. 14,  the DMV warned it was illegal because the cars did not have a special permit.  (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

    In this photo taken Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, Devin Greene sits in the front seat of an Uber driverless car during a test drive in San Francisco. The ride-hailing company is refusing to obey demands by the state's Department of Motor Vehicles that it ... stop picking up San Francisco passengers in specially equipped Volvo SUVs. Hours after Uber launched the self-driving service Wednesday, Dec. 14, the DMV warned it was illegal because the cars did not have a special permit. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg) (The Associated Press)

The Latest on Uber's showdown with California regulators over self-driving cars in San Francisco (all times local):

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4 p.m.

The leader of Uber's self-driving car program says the ride-hailing service he launched this week in San Francisco will continue despite regulators' objections.

California transportation officials have demanded that Uber stop picking up passengers in a handful of Volvo SUVs tricked out with a suite of sensors that let the cars steer, brake and accelerate.

Uber's Anthony Levandowski told reporters Friday that he disagrees with the state's demand to suspend operations until it gets a special permit because the cars aren't subject to California's self-driving regulations.

Levandowski says Uber doesn't need a permit because a backup driver is behind the wheel monitoring the car. He says that means the Volvos aren't "autonomous vehicles" under state law.

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The state has threatened legal action. Officials didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.