We have already reported that Uber was making test drives in Pittsburgh, but now there's finally some news on when Uber's autonomous cars will actually begin operating.
I guess this piece of news isn't the best for Uber drivers, but Uber, the world's leading ride-sharing company, seems to be closing in on their goal to replace the company's (cca.) one million drivers with computer software in self-driving, autonomous cars.
Plans are to add 100 Volvo XC90s sport-utility cars, modified by the Swedish premium car maker, to the existing Uber fleet in Pittsburgh this month already - meaning, Volvo and Uber will be the first ones to bring the self-driving car-sharing service to life, beating Google, Tesla, Apple and Ford to it.
But the cars won't be driving all on their own just yet as vehicles will come with safety drivers - one engineer to take over the car manually when and if necessary and a co-pilot to supervise the drive. "Nobody has set up software that can reliably drive a car safely without a human," Uber co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick said for Bloomberg. "We are focusing on that." Moreover, there will be also several sensors that use cameras, lasers, radar, and GPS receivers as well as a tablet computer in the back seat, recording the trips and mapping data.
According to Bloomberg reports, customers in Pittsburgh will continue to request cars using the Uber's app, and will be paired with a driverless car at random. Trips will be free for now (while the standard local rate is $1.05 per mile).