Uber officially deployed its first fleet of driverless vehicles last week in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The company was beaten to the race to be the first company to deploy autonomous taxis when nuTonomy rolled them out in Singapore in late August. Only customers considered to be ‘loyal’ are able to try out the new driverless vehicles in Pittsburgh.
The deployment of driverless vehicles in Pittsburgh came earlier than was initially expected – only two years after Uber announced its intentions of having driverless vehicles pick up passengers. The company’s CEO initially said would take decades to implement, Econo Times reported. Uber drivers reportedly feared that their jobs would become obsolete once the new concept was put in place.
For now, driverless cars are only able to transfer a select few passengers and take them to select destinations. To maneuver through the busy streets of Pittsburgh, the autonomous cars are equipped with loads of contraptions such as traffic light sensors, 3D-mapping lasers, and a weather detection system, ABC News reported. The cars are occupied by a safety driver behind the wheel to ensure nothing goes wrong. Because of this, passengers probably won’t feel a huge difference in experience.
The execution of driverless vehicles is a big step up for Uber, since it now has its own physical assets. In the past, Uber drivers had to have their own vehicle to be an Uber driver; therefore, Uber didn’t own any vehicles. Now Uber owns driverless vehicles which will be kitted out with all sorts of sensors and safety features to ensure efficiency and safety.