In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, made the surprising announcement that the company will be rolling out self-driving cars in the very near future. So, while you’ll never have to worry about the quality of your driver, you will have to worry about the fact that they’re not, you know, a human being.
Since 2014, the company has been working closely with Carnegie Mellon University’s robotic department to create cars that basically drive themselves.
And at the end of this month, they’re going to be testing out some of their special souped-up Volvo XC90 sport-utility vehicles to some (lucky?) uber passengers in Pittsburgh.
For now, all the rides will have a human being in the driver’s seat monitoring the road conditions and making sure the automatic car is functioning smoothly. So as robotic and futuristic as it sounds (and is) there’s at least still a person around supervising that everything is going alright.
Plus, Uber has assured passengers who test these vehicles (which will come randomly as a result of requesting the Uber) that the rides will be free. You’re just, well, riding in a car driven by a computer… that’s all. Nothing could possibly go wrong there.
Uber and Volvo are in the midst of a $300 million deal to create a fully functioning, self-driving car that’s totally ready for regular road driving by 2021.Soon, we really will be summoning robots to get us where we want to go. Or, at least the people brave enough to trust robots will be.
Uber is not the only ones in the self-driving car game since Google and Tesla have been testing their prototypes out for a while (along with some other pretty insanely futuristic inventions). But Uber has no intention of manufacturing the cars themselves, which means they’re creating a product that could possibly be applied on a much more widespread basis. Which theoretically means that we could be seeing a lot more self-driven cars all over the place very soon, so we should probably start mentally preparing now.