Rebecca Vineyard
September 12, 2016 1:03 pm
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Self-driving cars might just be the future of transportation, and Uber is on the forefront of this incredible innovation. While other companies are working on similar technology, Uber has plans to launch a fleet of autonomous cars in Pittsburgh and make the Pennsylvania city the first place on earth where the public can ride in cars driven by no one.

As you can imagine, there are a lot of mixed feelings about the impending fleet of self-driving Ubers. On one hand, many are excited for the prospect of this groundbreaking technology debuting in the former steel industry hub. Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto, who has helped Uber foster this development in the city, has said,  “You can either put up red tape or roll out the red carpet. If you want to be a 21st-century laboratory for technology, you put out the carpet.”

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However, many citizens of Pittsburgh worry about the cars; after all, living in the testing ground for potentially dangerous technology might make anyone a little concerned. Additionally, there haven’t been any official announcements or public demonstrations of the self-driving vehicles, and emergency services don’t currently know where the cars will travel.

Those are certainly legitimate concerns, luckily, all of Uber’s test vehicles will have a human monitor in them who can take over if, for some reason, anything goes wrong. Also, even with a human in the car — self-driving car or not — always a chance for an accident; That’s simply a fact of life.

Says Peduto: “There is no technology that is fail-proof, and there is no tech that can guarantee there won’t be accidents, but right now there are 3,287 people who die in automobile-related accidents around the world each day, and there has to be a better way.”

Pennsylvania is also a great place to try out self-driving cars, because they don’t have any particular laws against them: As long as someone is sitting behind the wheel to take over in case of an emergency, driverless vehicles aren’t banned.

Uber officially announced last month that Pittsburgh will be the launch site of the company’s first ever self-driving fleet and while the debate going on about the safety of driverless cars is totally healthy, we can’t help but feel pretty excited that something so seemingly futuristic is about to be in the here and now.