Keep your hands off the wheel.
Self-driving Ubers are hitting the roads of Pittsburgh today, the car service announced Wednesday.
After a year and a half of testing, top customers will be able to take a ride in Uber’s first fleet of self-driving cars. However, there will still be a safety driver in the vehicle when it arrives.
“We know that many drivers will have questions about this technology. It’s still very early: Self-Driving Ubers have a safety driver in the front seat because they require human intervention in many conditions, including bad weather,” the announcement reads. “Even when these technology issues get fixed, we believe ridesharing will be a mix – with services provided by both drivers and Self-Driving Ubers.”
[IMAGE “1” “” “std” ]
Self-driving cars have raised safety concerns, especially after a Navy Seal died while operating his Tesla in self-driving mode in June.
Uber says safety for all, including pedestrians and bicyclists, is a top priority. In fact, they believe the new technology will help reduce car accidents and aid in other problems faced by cities.
Uber said, “Of course, we can’t predict exactly what the future will hold. But we know that self-driving Ubers have enormous potential to further our mission and improve society: reducing the number of traffic accidents, which today kill 1.3 million people a year; freeing up the 20 percent of space in cities currently used to park the world’s billion plus cars; and cutting congestion, which wastes trillions of hours every year.”
They also point out that these new vehicles won’t take jobs away from drivers.
“Technology also creates new work opportunities while disrupting existing ones,” Uber said. “Many predicted that the ATM would spell doom for bank tellers. In fact, ATMs cut the cost of running a local bank so more branches opened, employing more people. Self-Driving Ubers will be on the road 24 hours a day, which means they will need a lot more human maintenance than cars today.”
Expansion of self-driving vehicles to other locations in the United States have not been announced, but Uber did note that the Steel City was the perfect place to test the new technology thanks to its “narrow, winding streets and unpredictable weather,” according to Uber’s fact sheet detailing the service.