The world’s first Self-Driving Ubers hit the road of Pittsburgh on Sept. 14. Just a year and a half ago, the company set up an Advanced Technologies Center (ATC) in Pittsburgh in the hopes of making self-driving Ubers a reality. Now, they want their most loyal Steel City customers to try out the future before anyone else.
Those lucky enough to experience it firsthand can expect the company of a safety driver up front, which Uber asserts is of utmost important to ensure that the ride goes smoothly. The service is available for 24 hours.
The success of this pilot will improve society, says Uber. The technology could one day decrease traffic accidents, which kill 1.3 million people annually. Self-driving cars can also free up to 20 percent of space in cities that are presently used for parking as well as reduce congestion that squanders trillions of hours annually.
Since the technology is in its very early stage, the company still employs human driver that can provide human intervention such as assisting a passenger during bad weather. The company says that a human driver would still be required even after they perfect the technology because not only do they want to compensate for the limits of self-driving software, they also intend to keep up with the demand for better transportation which human drivers easily provide.
Many may fear that the technology poses a problem for employment. However, Uber asserts that their self-driving cars will create new work opportunities, citing the need for more employees required to oversee the upkeep of the self-driving cars.
The company aims to keep improving their technology. They add that their current partnerships with drivers and new ones with manufacturers like Volvo will maintain a world-class customer experience that can be enjoyed by this generation and the ones that are yet to come.