Uber is taking part in efforts to reduce traffic accidents and has announced its partially self-driving car will now accept passengers as of this week. Uber says this is their first step in creating a fleet of autonomous vehicles. The critical test is underway that could someday be the standard for ride-sharing transportation.
On Tuesday, Uber gave journalists test drives in about two dozen Ford Fusion sedans. These vehicles were retrofitted with light-mapping systems, cameras, sensors and radar. Uber envisions one day a human driver will be unnecessary. For now, an Uber employee will be behind the wheel and intercede if there's a mistake with the car's self-driving system. The leader of Uber’s self-driving car effort says this is the most important step in technology that will occur over the next ten years.
Pittsburgh UberX app users could now be picked up by specially trained Uber employees in a self-driving car. Rides in self-driving cars will be free for now. A USA TODAY journalist reported the test drive in the Fusion went smoothly, and the self-driving car navigated the bustling urban streets of Pittsburgh, as well as safely avoiding bicyclists and walkers. The journalist reported the car handed control back to the driver on several occasions. The situations that were too complex for the vehicle's algorithms included a construction vehicle that was parked backward in the right lane.
Specially trained Uber employees are instructed how to loosely grip the steering wheel at all times, and must be prepared to take over immediately at all times. Uber's new Advanced Technologies Center is located in Pittsburgh and is staffed by many former Carnegie Mellon University researchers. Uber officials say Pittsburgh is a good town to test self-driving cars, with busy urban streets, bridges, railroads, pedestrians, bicyclists, and even bad weather.
As the era of self-driving cars begins, the dream of accident-free roadways grows closer to reality. Until then, Meyerkord, Meyerkord & Kurth, LLC, is home to St. Louis’ best auto accident attorneys. Contact us today for a free auto accident case review.