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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.
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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