With all the advances in driverless cars over the past few years, it was only a matter of time until the pre-booked ride kings ‘Uber’ got into the game. Now it’s official, they are testing a driverless Uber on the streets of Pittsburgh.
“If you’re driving around Pittsburgh in the coming weeks you might see a strange sight: a car that looks like it should be driven by a superhero. But this is no movie prop — it’s a test car from Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center (ATC) in Pittsburgh.” – Uber Newsroom
The car the company has outfitted to drive by itself is a hybrid Ford Fusion. With a sleek body design, and great fuel efficiency it’s a great choice to equip with all the gear necessary to operate on it’s own.
Uber will be primarily testing the cars self-driving capabilities and collecting mapping data. Similar to when Google’s self driving cars operate, when the Uber car in self-driving mode a trained driver will be in the vehicle monitoring operations. Equipped with multiple sensors including radars and laser scanners, the car is able to drive autonomously and continually learn and adapt to real world scenarios. Also outfitted with multiple high resolution cameras, the vehicle can map the environment that surrounds it.
“Real-world testing is critical to our efforts to develop self-driving technology. Self-driving cars have the potential to save millions of lives and improve quality of life for people around the world. 1.3 million people die every year in car accidents — 94% of those accidents involve human error. In the future we believe this technology will mean less congestion, more affordable and accessible transportation, and far fewer lives lost in car accidents. These goals are at the heart of Uber’s mission…” – Uber Newsroom
Uber is still very new to the driverless car game, so it will be interesting to see how they do. The company has acknowledged that they have a long way to go, and a lot of testing to do. It’s good to see them taking proper measures to ensure correct vehicle function and safety; rather than just buying up some driverless car technology and unleashing it on the streets.
“Right now we’re focused on getting the technology right and ensuring it’s safe for everyone on the road — pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers”. – Uber Newsroom
The company has notified the city of Pittsburgh of it’s operations and received the blessing of Mayor William Peduto. Uber believes that the city is a perfect place to test their new driverless vehicle. Known for great engineering and research talent, among other things, the company is excited to call the city home to their ‘Advanced Technologies Center’.
“From the first steel mills to the laboratories at Pitt and Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh has a long history of innovation. Now we’re taking another step forward, this time as home to Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center, where some of the world’s leading innovators are helping to shape the future of transportation. We’re excited that Uber has chosen the Steel City as they explore new technologies that can improve people’s lives — through increased road safety, less congestion, and more efficient and smarter cities.” – William Peduto, Mayor of Pittsburgh
We look forward to seeing how Uber does with their new driverless technologies. With so much success from other companies like Google and drive.ai, we definitely expect great things and hope to be hopping into a driverless Uber in the relatively near future.