In a surprise move, ride-sharing app Uber has announced that they’ll be starting the deployment of self-driving cars in downtown Pittsburgh, USA, starting this month. The cars, modified Volvo XC90 sport-utility vehicles decked out with dozens of sensors that use a combination of laser, radar and GPS technology, will be picking up and dropping off passengers in a trial run of Uber’s autonomous vehicle capabilities. There will be a human in the driver’s seat for safety.
Uber isn’t the first name that you’d think about when it comes to autonomous cars – Google is certainly the widely recognized leader of the tech, though other companies have started to realize the benefits to their bottom line of fully autonomous vehicles. Ford has their own driver-less car ambitions, and Tesla, the electric car manufacturer already has a version of it dubbed autopilot.
For now Uber is randomizing which customer gets the self-driving car, and if you do chance on one in downtown Pittsburgh, you’re not charged for your ride.
This begs the question though, would you want a driverless car taking you to work?