Uber to Start Testing Self-Driving Cars in Pittsburgh Later This Month

Posted on August 18, 2016

Uber Driverless Car

Big money by companies that can dominate the future world of self-driving cars. This interesting future is not that far away. Uber is one of the companies seeking to profit from the coming change in transportation. Uber rose rapidly with its ride offering service through Uber drivers. Uber also wants to be in the autonomous car business in a huge way.

Driverless cars could potentially replace Uber drivers in the future. Bloomberg reports that Uber's first autonomous cars will launch this summer. There vehicles will arrive in Pittsburgh this month. These cars are custom Volvo XC90s. They will be supervised by a human being sitting in the driver's seat.

Bloomberg says Uber will offer self-driving cars to customers later this month in Pittsburgh. Customers can summon the cars from their smartphones. Uber's fleet is expected to reach 100 by the end of this year. Uber has been hiring experts since late 2014 to develop the technology. They also plan to partner with multiple manufacturers. The company believes its existing data from its app can help improve the mapping and navigation systems in self-driving vehicles.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick says developing autonomous vehicles is "basically existential for us." Kalanick also says, "If Uber wants to catch up to Google and be the leader in autonomy, we have to have the best minds."

Uber needs Uber drivers for now because autonomous cars are not anywhere close to being proven safe. However, Uber drivers will clearly need to look for other type of work in the future. Kalanick also sees autonomous cars driving the cost to travel which means it will impact other businesses, possibly evens sales of private cars. People may not need to own a car if they can just summon a driverless vehicle at any time.

Image: Uber