Residents of Pittsburgh will now be able to take a taxi without talking to the driver. Uber has launched a driverless car rental service.
A fleet of four vehicles equipped with lasers, cameras and sensors will transport customers to this city of 2.6 million people.
Customers will not be really alone in the first phase of the project, as technicians will accompany them to observe the vehicle’s behavior.
A technician will sit in the driver’s seat, without touching the steering wheel, while a second will ensure the proper operation of the vehicle.
Uber hopes, however, to let their vehicles circulate alone rather quickly.
An AFP journalist was able to test one of these vehicles and he was able to see that cars were finding their way easily in a city where traffic is difficult.
Uber, which has been refining this technology for two years, was overtaken by a Singapore company that launched such a service in a small part of the island.
The geography of Pittsburgh – with its rugged hills, old narrow streets and interlocking highways – is a challenge of a different kind.
A dozen Ford Hybrid, whose roof is surmounted by a huge machinery, will be ready to take the road in turn when the first four vehicles will be proven.
Autonomous cars are one of the leading sectors of automotive research builders competing to take a lead in this new niche.
The American Ford and German BMW have set the goal of mass production for 2021.
As for Tesla, another American player, already markets a sedan. The project has been questioned since a fatal accident involving one of its vehicles in Florida.
From the sharing economy to the absence of a driver
Uber’s ability to harvest and use phenomenal amounts of road and road conditions accumulated by his drivers allowed him to cap his rivals at the post.
Ironically, these drivers who have allowed Uber to collect this huge amount of data, thanks to the billions of kilometers traveled, will be the first victims of this new technology.
Recognized for its efficient mobile application, Uber has enabled millions of drivers to make money by taxi rides without paying for licenses.
The Pittsburgh driverless taxi experience, however, suggests a shift in focus to the self-driving taxi.
“Autonomous driving is at the heart of Uber’s mission,” says Uber vice president of engineering, says Anthony Levandowski. However, the company says it is a distant goal and that autonomous cars will cohabit long with conventional vehicles.
Mr. Kalanick adds that the ultimate goal is to make roads safer. “We know that autonomous Uber [cars] have enormous potential to accomplish our mission and improve society: reduce the number of road accidents, which kill 1.3 million people a year, free up 20% of urban space eaten by parking spaces for billions of cars and reduce traffic jams that cost thousands of billions of hours a year, “he added.
Uber says its vehicles have not had an accident so far, but this prospect seems inevitable technicians who will accompany the first customers of the US giant.
Jennifer Cantelli was born and raised in the busy city of Lancaster. As a journalist, Jennifer has contributed to many online publications including the The Crimson White and USA Today. In regards to academics, Jennifer earned a degree in business from Carnegie Mellon University and an master’s degree from Temple University. Jennifer follows the money and covers all aspects of state and federal economy.here at Times Records.