Uber Will Begin Picking Up Pittsburgh Users in Self-Driving Cars This Month

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Aug 18, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    After years of planning, and testing phases over the last few months, Uber this month will begin allowing customers in Pittsburgh to summon self-driving cars from within its ride-hailing app. As noted by Bloomberg, "no automotive or technology company has yet achieved" the public launch of a self-driving service, passing rivals Google, Tesla, and Ford, who have so far only performed tests in the field.

    Uber's new program isn't entirely "driverless," however, since the company is still placing trained engineers in the driver's seat, "as common sense and the law dictate," to oversee each trip and ensure the passenger's safety. There will also be a co-pilot in the front passenger seat to take notes while the test trips take place, and everything will get recorded by cameras inside and outside the vehicle "so that any glitches can be ironed out."


    On the passenger side of things, once users hail the specially modified Volvo XC90 sport-utility vehicles, they'll see a tablet computer in the backseat that comes stacked with information to tell them that they're in an autonomous vehicle and educate them on exactly what's happening. Although unspecified, it appears that riders won't know they're being paired with a driverless car while in the Uber app, but the ride will be free of charge "for the time being."

    According to Uber's engineering director Raffi Krikorian, "the goal is to wean us off of having drivers in the car, so we don't want the public talking to our safety drivers." The company also thinks the new technology could greatly cut down on the cost of trips for riders, which it sees as a major opportunity. Still, there are hiccups in the system the company has to fix before all of this progress can happen.
    Apple itself was the source of multiple self-driving automobile rumors, beginning last year, but ultimately it's believed that the company's first foray into the vehicle industry most likely won't be autonomous, with further generations down the line more likely to include the technology. All the same, over the summer it was reported that Apple is taking a "two-prong approach" to the Apple Car, focusing more heavily on creating its own autonomous driving system rather than the hardware manufacturing of the vehicle itself.

    You can read Bloomberg's full report on Uber's autonomous vehicle launch in Pittsburgh right here.

    Article Link: Uber Will Begin Picking Up Pittsburgh Users in Self-Driving Cars This Month
  2. Donoban macrumors 65816


    Sep 7, 2013
    The future is here baby. Total recall johnny cab please
  3. Lord Hamsa macrumors 6502a

    Jul 16, 2013
    “Bridges are really hard,” Krikorian says. “And there are like 500 bridges in Pittsburgh.”
    1000 bridges in Allegheny County, so that sounds about right.
  4. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus


    Sep 8, 2010
    That's even more bold and ambitious that the report out the other day regarding Ford's goals toward a fully autonomous car. I wonder what Über's insurance liability premiums are going to be like with this venture, carrying around passengers as a business in a self-driving car.
  5. Amacfa, Aug 18, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2016

    Amacfa macrumors 68000


    May 22, 2009
  6. Howyalikdemapls macrumors 6502

    Sep 2, 2013
    How did Uber pull this off so quickly?

    Or is this really still just the testing phases that Google are in as well? It says there's a driver in the driver seat ready to take control if needed. That's kind of where Google is at as well, right?
  7. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    I don't get the fascination and rush for self-driving cars
  8. Mac Fly (film) macrumors 65816

    Mac Fly (film)

    Feb 12, 2006
    "Please don't talk to our drivers."

    Welcome to a warm fuzzy future where you can go a year or more without human interaction. In my country (Ireland) Uber drivers require a taxi licence.
  9. 2010mini macrumors 68040

    Jun 19, 2013
    So Uber's goal is to put their drivers out of business???
  10. _Refurbished_, Aug 18, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2016

    _Refurbished_ macrumors 68000


    Mar 23, 2007
    It will completely change our culture. It's going to have the biggest impact on our lives since the introduction of the cell phone. There is a crazy amount of stuff that's going to change in the next 20 years, due to self driving vehicles. Here's a few examples, but I could go on for hours...

    Want a new iPhone? Send your car to the Apple Store and they will drop it off in the car. On the way home, bring back pizza for the family. Oh, we needed more toilet paper, I'll make sure to send the car to Costco on the way back to pick some up. No delivery fees, no waiting = endless possibilities.

    I live in California and my best friend lives in Utah. Sleep in my car bed and wake up in Utah.

    I can go on and on with this one...
  11. Sandstorm macrumors 6502a


    Sep 27, 2011
    Riga, Latvia
    Awesome. No point to fight against it, driverless cars are coming. Sure there will be problems, also sure they will get better and better - and soon enough they will become safer and better than the best human driver possibly can.

    I'm also glad to see this experiment to go with Volvo XC90 (Volvo and Tesla are my favorite car brands - just hope Volvo hurry up with the all-electric car they have promised).
  12. Kognito macrumors regular


    Jul 27, 2011
    Just wait until this comes to Europe, then even the Uber drivers will be protesting against Uber.
  13. bkaus macrumors regular

    Sep 26, 2014
    Mo' Money! so yes.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 18, 2016 ---
    I have a friend that is legally blind and loosing what eyesight is left very quickly that is very excited about self driving cars.
  14. alexgowers macrumors 65816

    Jun 3, 2012
    I get the idea of rented self drive cars but the problems i see are not to do with the tech at all.

    I see thieves potentially being able to steal them or parts with ease, even if it's a wheel or a fender or something small off the car to sell. The misuse of them as party vehicles or getting smashed up for fun. Who is to say if one pulls up for someone else and you get in instead of them? I mean there are issues here that are far ranging outside of any tech related to the car not driving right.

    I'm not sure i see a future in rented driverless cars without tackling those kind of issues. I however see a massive future in owned driverless cars that can come pick you up for which you alone have access.
  15. Mattsasa macrumors 68020


    Apr 12, 2010
    Convienience, safety, environment, money


    I just got a new job doing research on autonomous technologies. I start next month
  16. 2457282 Suspended

    Dec 6, 2012
    The constant push for automation is great to a point. Having a fleet of driverless cars that pick people up and drop them off seems like a cool idea. Aside from the actual driving part, these cars will need to be calibrated and maintained to make sure no accidents occur which likely means they will be in better shape than a lot of taxis and cars I get into today. The problem of automation however is a social problem. As we have the internet, the video games, self check out and now driverless cars (to mention but a few obvious ones), we end up with two major social issues. First is the loss of human contact. We spend much less time with others than ever before and that has an impact on culture. The second is the jobs being replaced by automation are the lower income, lower skilled jobs. This creates a huge problem in terms of poverty and inequities that is already stirring up a lot of anxiety and is clearly visible in this election year. As someone that works in technology, I am certainly not against it and totally look forward to being able to hail a driverless car (never Uber, but maybe Lyft or a taxi). I just hope we can address the social issues along the way, because from my perspective technology is way out and the social considerations are being left in the dust.
  17. luckydcxx macrumors 65816


    Jun 13, 2013
    I really can't believe that Uber is able to do this. I can't imagine that they have done more research and development then Google or Tesla.

    Also Ford saying that they will have a level 4 autonomous vehicle Shipped by 2021 is crazy. They aren't even doing real world testing yet (if they are it's minimal).

    I wouldn't trust Uber or Ford with this. Tesla has the data of millions of miles of roads with mapping and real world conditions.

    I really feel like Uber is going to ruin this for all of the other companies by doing this so quickly, if there is a fatal accident and it's the vehicles fault this will hold everything up for everyone else.

    I just can't imagine that Uber has been able to do more R&D then google who has had their level 4 car doing testing for years.
  18. Donoban macrumors 65816


    Sep 7, 2013
    Think about your own car. You drive it to work where it stays parked for 8 hours, you then drive it home where it stays parked for another 12 hours, then repeat.

    Imagine if your car could be making you money during the times you aren't using it.
  19. GrumpyMom macrumors 604


    Sep 11, 2014
    As someone who has four elderly parents who have turned my husband and me into their personal Uber service as they refuse to use cabs or uber, I would say self driving cars could help extend the independence of the elderly or disabled or those with other restrictions on their driving or people who just hate driving. I get lost just going to the basement when my migraines act up so I would love a self driving car someday even with my abilities intact.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 18, 2016 ---
    I share your anxiety about the job loss but as a woman I welcome any technological advances that limit my interactions with people I don't know, especially men I don't know. Especially if it means I don't have to get into a car with them.
  20. Awfisch macrumors member


    Feb 1, 2011
    Another effect it will have is it will likely reverse the urbanization trend. For the past few decades, people have been moving back into city centers and leaving the suburbs. I think that self driving cars will make it easier to live further away from work and friends. This will also allow people to spend much less on homes and have a lot of extra income.
  21. doelcm82, Aug 18, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2016

    doelcm82 macrumors 68040


    Feb 11, 2012
    Florida, USA
    Automation is great. It used to take a skilled housewife a whole day or more of hard work to do the family's laundry. Now it's so easy even a man can do it, and most of it is waiting for the machines to do the work, so the guy can sit on the couch eating bon bons and watching his "stories."
  22. 2457282 Suspended

    Dec 6, 2012
    Yes totally agree that physical safety is another potential win (once they make sure the cars don't crash and can't be hacked of course). I just wish we could update our policies at the corporate and government level to also address the social issues while continuing to push the technology further. It's not about going back to horse and buggy (although that can be fun on occasion). It's about pushing technology in a responsible way so people are not left behind. Just because I am (and suspect many here are as well) in the "have" camp, does not mean I should ignore those in the "have-not" camp.
  23. desmond2046 macrumors regular


    Jun 2, 2015
    Columbus, OH, United States
    This is so exciting!! I almost want to drive to Pittsburgh to test it!!!
  24. 2457282 Suspended

    Dec 6, 2012
    Funny you mention that, because in my house, I do the laundry. I offered to do the cooking, but my wife hates my cooking. So I think this works out for the best.
  25. Iconoclysm macrumors 68020


    May 13, 2010
    Washington, DC
    It's actually Volvo that's been doing the testing in China with the XC90 pictured above. The XC90 is the safest car ever made, so at least the passengers have a good chance.

Share This Page