Pittsburgh residents can now hail one of Uber's self-driving vehicles

By midian182 ยท 4 replies
Sep 14, 2016
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  1. It was revealed last month that Uber would be launching a fleet of self-driving taxis in Pittsburgh before the end of August. It may have arrived a couple of weeks later than anticipated, but today marks the first time customers can ride in the autonomous vehicles.

    At its Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh, Uber announced that its most “loyal” customers have a chance of receiving a ride from one of 14 self-driving Ford Fusion vehicles when they order an Uber X.

    The company didn’t specify what qualifies a customer as loyal, though it did say it was based on how often they used the service and their location. These regular users are being notified by email that an autonomous Uber car may turn up the next time they order a ride. Journeys in the vehicles will be free, but a spokesperson did say this might eventually change.

    The Fusions are only being deployed on certain routes where they’ve been extensively tested by the company. Uber said these are some of the most popular roads in the area, but don’t expect to be able to go anywhere.

    The vehicles come packed with sensors, including a 360-degree LIDAR unit and a front-facing camera array, but one engineer will be sat behind the wheel ready to take over should the need arise, while another will take notes in the front passenger seat . Customers must also agree to be videoed so Uber can study people’s responses to the self-driving journey.

    It will be a long time before the cars are allowed to operate without any engineers present, and even longer before they’re ready to roll out on a large scale. But Uber has said that, in time, it will be cheaper and safer to ride in these self-driving cars than in a private vehicle. Eventually, this autonomous technology could result in ‘Uber driver’ becoming another profession threatened by machines.

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  2. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,664   +1,949

    A future is coming when a hacked self-driving car can be used for kidnapping passengers.

    Trust is gonna be the biggest issue for this kind of service...


    Welcome to Johnnie cab! :)
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2016
    Uncle Al and psycros like this.
  3. Nathan Sokalski

    Nathan Sokalski TS Rookie

    I'm glad the technology is evolving, but what I really want them to do is let me pick up my phone, say come here, and have a ride appear at my door or location. It always frustrates me that these big cities get all this stuff before the suburbs. They already have public transportation, what about everyone else?!
    trgz likes this.
  4. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,870   +1,291

    There will never be fully autonomous vehicles driving in major cities or on rural backroads, at least not until quantum computing is powering thinking AIs. These experiments will be limited to well-maintained highways in temperate weather for many years to come. Even then they DO become commonplace, they'll soon become a public menace due to non-stop hacking.
  5. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,339   +1,986

    As this continues to shake out it will be interesting to see just how many more "events" develop that cause an issue with these cars. What about when traffic signals malfunction tossing vehicles from all directions in the middle of a busy intersection? Or during a storm, live wires drop in the middle of the roadway? Kids running into the street is certainly a concern, and so on and so on. Certainly as time goes on these issues will be found and corrective programing entered. I don't doubt the sincerity of the developers but I think they have forgotten the love affair the American public has with their cars. We got cars to give us freedom to go where we want; are we really willing to give that up to some computer? I have some serious doubts about that .......

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