Thursday, August 18, 2016

If You Live in Pittsburg, an Uber Robot might Drive You


If you live in Pittsburgh and use Uber, get ready to meet some robotic drivers later this month.

That’s according to a detailed new report in Bloomberg Businessweek. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick revealed that the company plans to soon add driverless cars—complete with “dozens of sensors that use cameras, lasers, radar, and GPS receivers”—to its fleet in Pittsburgh. The goal in the long-run is to replace its millions of human drivers with autonomous vehicles.

The car army won’t be completely devoid of humans, however. For now, the cars will also come with people in the driver’s seat—they’ll just be there to make sure nothing goes terribly, horribly wrong, and to take over in scenarios where Uber’s self-driving tech isn’t yet reliable, such as hen the car is crossing a bridge. Sitting shotgun, and observer will take notes on a laptop. Cameras inside the vehicle will record all of the goings on.

Riders will hail an Uber the usual way, but they’ll be assigned a driverless car at random. (One immediate benefit: The trips will be free, instead of the local rate of $1.30 a mile.) When you get into a car, a tablet in the backseat will inform you that the car is being driven autonomously.

The announcement of the driverless fleet launch comes in tandem with news that Uber will team up with Volvo to develop autonomous cars. The $300 million partnership between the automotive and Silicon Valley giants is already producing results—Uber’s driverless Pittsburgh contingent will be stocked with custom Volvo XC90 SUVs.

Read the whole article...

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