Uber's self-driving SUVs will start picking up Pittsburgh customers later this month

By midian182 ยท 7 replies
Aug 18, 2016
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  1. Every week seems to bring news about autonomous vehicles made by various companies hitting the roads in the “next few years.” But Uber’s getting the drop on its competitors by launching a fleet of self-driving taxis in Pittsburgh later this month, according to Bloomberg.

    The self-driving Volvo XC90 sports utility vehicles will be randomly assigned to customers who order a ride using the Uber app. The law requires a human supervisor to be present in the driver’s seat, and there will be another person in the passenger seat taking notes on a laptop. The external sensors will record everything that happens during the ride on a “liquid-cooled” computer in the trunk.

    Those sitting in the driving position will have to keep “their fingertips on the wheel.” Whenever the vehicle detects that they need to take full control, like when coming up to a bridge, a chime will sound. Pittsburgh authorities have already approved testing of the self-driving vehicles on its roads.

    Trips in these vehicles will initially be free, rather than the usual rate of $1.30 per mile. CEO Travis Kalanick said the low per-mile cost of the cars will mean it’ll be cheaper to ride in a driverless Uber car than in a private car – and safer, too.

    Uber is pouring a lot of resources into the autonomous car market; it bought Otto, a driverless truck startup founded by ex-Google engineers back in July. And just today a $300 million deal was announced between Volvo and the ride-hailing firm to develop a fully autonomous vehicle by 2021.

    Only a handful of self-driving Volvos will initially be available to Uber customers, but 100 more are due by the end of the year.

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  2. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    These are taxis (not ride shares). If they are successful, Uber should register them as such and proceed to relegate the Yellows to the history books.
    Phr3d likes this.
  3. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    Now's the time to live in Pittsburgh, I wouldn't mind grabbing a ride in one of these for free.
  4. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,663   +1,949

    I've had it with Volvo, and especially their new XC90 T8 PR crap...

    The new XC90 T8 has the most exaggerated consumption figures ever recorded in automotive history:

    about 25 realistic mpg out of 130mpg claimed.

    Check the blogs from owners who are really pissed about this.

    Their 2L diesels return better figures.

    P.S. Their new S90 has the ugliest rear lights design ever! They should be ashamed of that.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2016
  5. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,306   +1,401

    Not to mention they're designed to be money pits maintained by the dealerships. There is no reason why every electronic component is linked to the VIN through the security system. I saw a car where the air intake was broken and it had to have the ECU flashed by dealership to make the new on work with the car. $150 for an ECU flash. Dealership wanted $2000 to do the work themselves. Even the powerseatmotors are VIN linked, like how does that make the car more secure.....
    Reehahs and VitalyT like this.
  6. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,681   +1,080

    "Whenever the vehicle detects that they need to take full control, like when coming up to a bridge, a chime will sound."

    LOL! there will be a lot of chiming then. Pittsburgh is full of bridges.
  7. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,971   +2,527

    And then, they'll have to maintain service facilities, pay mechanics, and contend with parts and labor costs commensurate with a very expensive, highly technologically advanced vehicle. I'm betting people will be whimpering for the cab companies to make a comeback in no time. Methinks they're beginning to "uber-reach".

    Perhaps Uber could offset these exaggerated operating costs, by taking on advertising in the cars. You know, put a 4K screen between the cab and the back seat, then bombard their customers with non stop hype for the entire ride. (y).

    I am impressed by these, "self driving" cars though. It only takes two humans and a supercomputer to replace one mentally defective cab driver...
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2016
    Phr3d likes this.
  8. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,923   +756

    Next headline - Uber sued by survivors when relatives killed in autonomous car crash.

    I bet there is a CYA agreement you will have to sign that states something like "If the autonomous vehicle in which you are a passenger is involved in an accident, you absolve Uber of all responsibilities in any injuries including death that may occur to you in such an accident."

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