Uber to Introduce Self-Driving Cars in San Francisco Uber to Introduce Self-Driving Cars in San Francisco

Uber to Introduce Self-Driving Cars in San Francisco

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For the last few months, Uber has been running a test with self-driving cars in Pittsburgh. The company announced on December 14th that they are now launching self-driving cars in San Francisco.

Uber Volvo XC90
Uber Volvo XC90 | photo credit: LAD0T IMG_1509 via photopin (license)

You may be wondering where you will sit in a self-driving Uber vehicle? Do you sit in the back, in the passenger seat, or the driver’s seat? Or you may wonder how you will react when your Uber ride turns up, and there is no one in the car? Don't worry; the self-driving cars are still some time off being truly autonomous, and the Uber pilot schemes are aware of that.

“First, we are not planning to operate any differently than in Pittsburgh, where our pilot has been running successfully for several months. Second, the rules apply to cars that can drive without someone controlling or monitoring them. For us, it’s still early days and our cars are not yet ready to drive without a person monitoring them.”

In respect to its vision, the company reiterated its commitment to a vision towards a mixed fleet of human-driven cars and self-driving cars. The company stated that

“The promise of self-driving is core to our mission of reliable transportation, everywhere for everyone. As demand for ridesharing continues to skyrocket, the future of transportation will be a mix of human drivers and self-driving cars.”

Uber is aware of the debate regarding the need for a testing permit in San Francisco, but confirmed that they do not feel it is necessary—Uber stated in its news page “we understand that there is a debate over whether or not we need a testing permit to launch a self-driving Uber in San Francisco. We have looked at this issue carefully, and we don’t believe we do.” Uber reasoned as we mentioned earlier, that no permit is needed since there will be an actual driver in the car monitoring its journey.

In Pittsburgh, Uber has been using the Volvo XC90 as the test vehicle for their self-driving pilot. So, if you are in San Francisco and one of these turns up you will know that your car is driving itself. Overall this is an exciting development in the world of transport and should make things easier and more accessible in the long run.

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  • CA DMV rejected the vehicle registration and uber said they were going else where pulling their cars out of CA..

  • It will really be interesting when they start offering use of electric cars, particularly ones that are charged with renewable electricity like wind turbines and/or solar.

  • 10,000 Americans die in automobile-related accidents a year. Some day we’ll look back on this as a necessary but evil barbarism.

  • Very skeptical here. So many things need to be taken into account for driverless car to work. 1 simple example. If you put in the warning for moving out of designated lane, and make car adjust for that, what about emergencies when the safest thing to do is to move out of the designated lane? In general, driving seems to require lots of attention to detail, and an ability to know when to violate the rules. Humans don’t do that correctly all of the time, but asking a computer to do it… Computers are great for following specific rules, but the more variables, the worse it gets…

  • Hopefully the self-driving cars are programmed to pay attention to cyclists, especially in a bike-heavy city like SF.

  • I like the idea of self driving cars but I think technology is still some time away. Since I grew up with automatic cars, well right at the beginning of them, I think it’s possible but hate to give up my control. Humans cause too many issues when driving that until they find a way to have all cars be self driving it’ll be an issues. Seen too many crashes and bad driving to let something else drive for me. Maybe one day just like with all technology it’ll be here. Remember at some point we were all afraid of the microwave ;o) It’s exciting to see this all happening during my life…just like the telephone, etc. happened for my grandmother and mother.

  • It is happening for sure. I wonder how Uber drivers feel about this… They have grown a significant business, but will soon all be displaced by self driving cars.

  • I think they were already blocked from operating on their first day.

  • Self driving cars seem pretty awesome! Cant wait till they come to NYC! Also kinda want to own one.

  • Actually, I think there is always a person in the car.
    Maybe in some years we will see car completely self-driving!

  • Jinyoung Park says:

    I’m both on-board and skeptical re: driver-less cars. This will be interesting to see how things unfold.

  • Awesome, can’t wait to try it!

  • I really hope this takes off. I can see this completely replacing car ownership for people like me.

  • Prashant Gangwal says:

    Looking forward to being in one of the self-driving Ubers!

  • Now, why is it that Uber cannot follow the rules like any good corporate citizen?

  • Sounds interesting but not sure if I’d like to try given reports of traffic violations on day one…

  • Wow this is cool.
    I will definitely have to try it.

  • ADAM PARSONS says:

    The whole concept always reminds me of the film with arnie and Johnny cabs. He ripped the robots head of in frustration. Lol…

  • Ratna Sari Soejanto says:

    Never in a million years I’ll step into a driverless car

  • Great progress!!!

  • Self driving cars are designed by human. Which means there’ll be mistakes. I won’t run into risks of getting one.

  • uber working with vovlo? I was thought ford

  • There’s already reports that the self-driving Uber car has made critical driving mistakes in SF. There’s pictures of the Uber car completely blowing through a stop light. This isn’t to say that self-driving tech will eventually overcome all of these foibles, but for now, self-driving is a tough sell for me.

  • No way you’d get me in to one of those.

  • This is exciting news – although I bet there are a lot of people earning their main income from Uber who aren’t too happy.

  • I cannot wait for self driving cars. I have always dreamed of reading a book or playing a video game on the way to and from work. The future is here!

  • I’m not sure I like the idea of self driving cars, but I suppose 20 years from now we will be laughing at the ridiculous idea that cars used to need someone to press pedals and turn a steering wheel.

  • Well, we will have driverless cars if we like it or not.

  • I will never trust a self driving car

  • Really excited but still kinda concerned over how self driving cars will work. Hopefully this is something that will continue to be developed.