The company’s autonomous vehicle test fleet has been travelling through Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for some months now, with Uber now allowing customers to experience the “future”.
Uber started testing the autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid on the undulating roads of the city months ago and has now grown confident enough to allow its ride-sharing service in the US to be used to book trips in the self-driving vehicles. Of course – as per legislation – there is a driver behind the wheel, but the company has released a video to show that most duties are performed completely autonomous these days. The vehicles are still part of a pilot program, and the Uber users can’t specifically request the autonomous rides. But the company said it has reserved them to “our most loyal Pittsburgh customers.”
Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh started working on a self-driving ridesharing vehicle 18 months ago – it packed on the Fusions a ton of laser scanners, cameras, and radar for navigation inside the intricate city. And the system still needs human guidance on occasions – such as bad weather. The company’s not so utopian goal (at least not anymore) is to have driverless vehicles on the roads 24/7 – and this service could become so convenient it would one day propose itself as an alternative to car ownership, thus lowering traffic congestion and increasing safety.