This could signal the eventual end for human drivers at Uber.
The race is on to develop the tech for an autonomous ridesharing service, and Uber is gunning for the lead by launching a self-driving test vehicle in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Sporting an array of laser scanners, cameras, and radar, the custom Ford Fusion Hybrid is there to map the city’s streets and engineer driverless systems.
As the current leader among ridesharing apps in the U.S, it seems natural for Uber to create its on autonomous technology. From a business perspective, launching the service could mean the firm wouldn’t need to hire human drivers someday. The vehicles could roam the streets 24 hours a day and only need to stop to refuel. “In the future we believe this technology will mean less congestion, more affordable and accessible transportation, and far fewer lives lost in car accidents,” the business says in this project’s announcement.
Rather than following the trend of centering autonomous tech’s development in Silicon Valley, Uber headquarters its self-driving work at the company’s Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh. The business claims the city "is an ideal environment to develop and test our technology across a wide variety of road types, traffic patterns, and weather conditions.”
Uber isn’t alone in wanting to create an autonomous ridesharing service because Google also reportedly has the tech under development. It could mean a future where you request a ride on an app and a driverless pod arrives to take you away.