Folks in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania will soon be able to summon a self-driving car from Uber, reports Bloomberg. The outlet says that the ride-sharing service plans to deploy a fleet of specially modified Volvo XC90 SUVs, supervised by humans, in the city later this month.
Uber’s Pittsburgh fleet, which will be supervised by humans in the driver’s seat for the time being, consists of specially modified Volvo XC90 sport-utility vehicles outfitted with dozens of sensors that use cameras, lasers, radar, and GPS receivers. Volvo Cars has so far delivered a handful of vehicles out of a total of 100 due by the end of the year. The two companies signed a pact earlier this year to spend $300 million to develop a fully autonomous car that will be ready for the road by 2021.
[…] Customers will request cars the normal way, via Uber’s app, and will be paired with a driverless car at random. Trips will be free for the time being, rather than the standard local rate of $1.05 per mile. In the long run, Kalanick says, prices will fall so low that the per-mile cost of travel, even for long trips in rural areas, will be cheaper in a driverless Uber than in a private car. “That could be seen as a threat,” says Volvo Cars CEO Hakan Samuelsson. “We see it as an opportunity.”
It seems like everyone in Silicon Valley is working on autonomous vehicles these days, but until now, no one has fulfilled the prophecy of bringing a self-driving car-sharing service to market. So human supervised or not, Uber is going to be making history with this deployment.