Uber announced yesterday that it began testing a self-driving car technology of its own, with the ultimate goal of potentially replacing drivers with computers for its ride-hailing service in a not-so-distant future.
The company’s Advanced Technologies Center (ATC) is now field-testing this tech on the streets of Pittsburgh, using a hybrid Ford Fusion that contains some additional hardware in the form of high resolution cameras, radar and laser scanners for mapping details of the environment and situational awareness.
A trained driver will be monitoring operations as the car collects mapping data as well as tests its self-driving capabilities.
Everyone in Silicon Valley and their brother is testing some form of self-driving technology, including Google, Tesla and potentially even Apple. A number of Chinese companies are toying with self-driving cars, too.
With a whopping 1.3 million people dying every year in car accidents, 94 percent of which involve human error, self-driving technology has the potential to save a lot of lives.
“In the future we believe this technology will mean less congestion, more affordable and accessible transportation, and far fewer lives lost in car accidents,” said Uber.
All I can say is I can’t wait for the day to come when I could hail a self-driving Uber.