If you’ve ever been curious about what it feels like to be in an automously-driven car, you might just get that chance. If you go to Pittsburgh at least. Uber in Pittsburgh is working with Volvo to launch six Volvo XC90 self-driving cars this month.
In the initial test phase, each Uber customer who gets randomly picked up in a self-driving Uber car will have to opt in to ride in it, and the ride will be free if and when they do. The bulky sensor package visible on the roof of a self-driving Uber car will be a dead giveaway. And the fact that the driver’s hands won’t be on the wheel might shock some.
The Uber customers in Pittsburgh won’t be able to specifically order a driverless car, since they’ll be available at random, and the driverless cars will actually have an Uber test driver behind the wheel as well as a co-pilot in the passenger seat. In the unlikely event that the car can’t drive the way it’s supposed to, the Uber test driver can take over. Volvo and Uber jointly invested $300 to develop the autonomous car project.
Although Mississauga drivers might be excited to try riding in a self-driving Uber car one day, Americans indicated that only 48% of them would be willing to try it – according to research by the Boston Consulting Group.
Pittsburgh riders will have to opt in and say they'd like to ride in a self-driving car before Uber will dispatch one to them. Only 48% of Americans are willing to try a fully self-driving car, according to research the Boston Consulting Group released this summer. But that doesn’t stop Uber one bit, who have acquired Otto, a self-driving truck company that was founded by former Google engineers.
The Mayor of Pittsburgh has indicated that self-driving vehicles will improve road safety and make his city more efficient. There are 1.25 million global road fatalities a year, and crashes are overwhelmingly caused by human error. All-round, the consensus among industry insiders is that self-driving cars will be the safe way of the future.