It’s no secret that Uber wants a fleet of self driving cars, especially after Uber CEO Travis Kalanick proposed to buy 500,000 driver-less cars from Tesla. Though that proposition never went through, Uber has turned to testing their own self driving cars.
“If you’re driving around Pittsburgh in the coming weeks you might see a strange sight: a car that looks like it should be driven by a superhero. But this is no movie prop — it’s a test car from Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center (ATC) in Pittsburgh.” – Uber Newsroom.
Similar to Googles testing of their self driving cars, Uber will be self driving capabilities of the car, a hybrid Ford Fusion, and collecting mapping data, with a trained driver behind the wheel. The car will be equipped with high resolution cameras and multiple sensors such as radars and laser scanners, allowing it to drive autonomously with the ability to learn and adapt to different scenarios.
“Real-world testing is critical to our efforts to develop self-driving technology. Self-driving cars have the potential to save millions of lives and improve quality of life for people around the world. 1.3 million people die every year in car accidents — 94% of those accidents involve human error. In the future we believe this technology will mean less congestion, more affordable and accessible transportation, and far fewer lives lost in car accidents. These goals are at the heart of Uber’s mission…” – Uber Newsroom.
The company is focusing on safety and the reliability of the technology and have gotten the approval of the city of Pittsburgh.
“From the first steel mills to the laboratories at Pitt and Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh has a long history of innovation. Now we’re taking another step forward, this time as home to Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center, where some of the world’s leading innovators are helping to shape the future of transportation. We’re excited that Uber has chosen the Steel City as they explore new technologies that can improve people’s lives — through increased road safety, less congestion, and more efficient and smarter cities.” – William Peduto, Mayor of Pittsburgh.
With so many companies such as Google, Tesla, Hyundai, Mercedes, and many others, it’s not surprising that another company jumps into testing. The difference with Uber is how it will shift the taxi industry even further. The company has already caused a change in taxi services but self driving taxi services will completely renovate the industry.
Interestingly Uber has placed an order of 100,000 autonomous Mercedes S-Class sedans, which are expected to be completed around 2020. The company has also announced a partnership with Toyota. So one way or another Uber is definitely pushing for an autonomous ride sharing service. Though we can sense a future where Uber will be buying autonomous cars from many companies to offer a variety of car options to choose from.
Lets not forget that Lyft and GM have partnered to do exactly this and its expected that first stage would be semi-autonomous cars in 2019.