Uber Unveils Self-Driving Cars
In September, Uber, now one of the most well-known rideshare service companies, officially launched its first batch of fourteen Ford Fusion self-driving cars in Pittsburgh, Penn. However, releasing to the public self-driving cars has raised concerns, typically geared towards the safety and accuracy of these automated cars. Towards the end of 2014, Uber started an Advanced Technologies Center (ATC), in Pittsburgh, with a goal that has clearly since been met: that one day, driverless cars could pick people up upon request.
The reason as to why Uber actually took the initiative to launch self-driving cars onto the streets is because the company believes that “real-world testing is critical to the success of this technology.” Without this real-life experiment, Uber would not know how successful and profitable the program may be. The automated taxi is run by a tablet-like screen facing the back seat of the car, which has received criticism from some who state that the tablet should be placed near cars’ dashboards, not near the back seats. This tablet-like structure is in charge of displaying many of the car’s driving features. For example, the tablet shows the car’s speed, whether the car is braking or not, and even how much time is left in the trip. From the outside, the car is quite noticeable with sensors on the car’s roof, which may be used to pick up surrounding activity. Everything a human driver would be aware of, this system is aware of, including people or animals crossing the road or lane changes. The Uber will even speed up if deemed necessary. Some of the brave souls that have experienced the ride say that after a while they forget that the car is autonomous.
Even though the car is completely capable of driving and being aware by itself, this foreign technology to the minds of evolving humans can instill a little bit of fear. Therefore, for the comfort of the passenger, these cars have two modes of operation: computer-operated and driver-operated, with the goal of removing the human factor and letting the automated car drive itself in the near future.There is even a safety button that can be pressed if a passenger feels too uncomfortable or scared to finish the ride to his or her desired destination.
Even if drivers have to be replaced with technology, Uber hopes that it may create new types of jobs, specifically in manufacturing parts for and maintaining these cars. They also hope that costs will decrease for customers requesting a ride, even for longer trips. For now, as they keep testing out these self-driving vehicles, trips will be free in Pittsburgh instead of the usual $1.05 per mile charge.
Since Uber’s reveal of the self-driving vehicle, there have not been any instances of the technology failing or a freak accident. If Uber’s autonomous vehicle’s track record remains spotless, people will get used to the new and it will become the usual. Whether or not Uber’s self-driving cars will prove successful, however, is beyond my knowledge. However, one can be certain that this advance in technology is quite incredible. Are you willing to experience the future of transportation? Before we notice that the time has passed, these cars of the future may become the cars of today.