Uber to begin real-world use of self-driving cars in Pittsburgh this month

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Marking a small but significant step towards bringing self-driving technology to the public, Uber will later this month begin offering some Pittsburgh customers rides in specially-modified Volvo XC90s, a report revealed on Thursday.




An Uber engineer will still sit in the driver's seat, and occasionally be prompted to take over in riskier situations like bridges, according to Bloomberg. A copilot in the passenger seat will take notes, and cameras inside and outside of the vehicle will record each trip.

Riders may not know they're getting into self-driving vehicles until they actually appear, but those trips will be free, and a tablet in the rear seat will explain what's going on. Uber is in fact hoping to discourage riders from talking to the XC90 drivers, in a bid to get people used to the idea of a driverless car.

While still a test in many senses, Uber's rollout is effectively the first public launch of fully self-driving car technology. Companies like Google have conducted road tests, but not as part of a commercial service.

Uber has expressed a strong desire to adopt self-driving vehicles as soon as possible. Doing so will allow it to dramatically cut its biggest expense -- human workers, who need to be paid a reasonable wage.

Ford is also planning to enter fully-automated ridesharing and ride-hailing, but only in 2021. Tesla has suggested that once it achieves the same level of technology, owners of its cars may be able to offer them up for ridesharing, making their money back.

Apple could potentially go down a similar route when its own car arrives in 2021. While it's unlikely to launch its own service, the company recently invested $1 billion into Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing, and it might be easier to sell high-priced first-generation vehicles to other businesses than a general audience.
lolliver
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 58
    TurboPGTTurboPGT Posts: 355member

    Uber has expressed a strong desire to adopt self-driving vehicles as soon as possible. Doing so will allow it to dramatically cut its biggest expense -- human workers, who need to be paid a reasonable wage.

    Fucking disgrace.

    Uber created an amazing job opportunity in the US and the only they are working on is how get rid of that rake in some more profit instead. 
    edited August 2016 bobrooronnbaconstang
  • Reply 2 of 58
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,555member
    TurboPGT said:

    Uber has expressed a strong desire to adopt self-driving vehicles as soon as possible. Doing so will allow it to dramatically cut its biggest expense -- human workers, who need to be paid a reasonable wage.

    Fucking disgrace.

    Uber created an amazing job opportunity in the US and the only they are working on is how get rid of that rake in some more profit instead. 
    And how did you think this was going to end?
    fastasleeplolliverjbdragon
  • Reply 3 of 58
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,911member
    Certainly not in a healthy mass transit system...
    lostkiwironnration albaconstang
  • Reply 4 of 58
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    their ceo has not hidden their objective to eliminate paying drivers. 
    jbdragon
  • Reply 5 of 58
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,414member
    TurboPGT said:

    Uber has expressed a strong desire to adopt self-driving vehicles as soon as possible. Doing so will allow it to dramatically cut its biggest expense -- human workers, who need to be paid a reasonable wage.

    Fucking disgrace.

    Uber created an amazing job opportunity in the US and the only they are working on is how get rid of that rake in some more profit instead. 

    and this was not completely obvious from the start. The reason Uber can not make a profits is they pay out all the profits to the drivers. But drivers do not make all that much after expenses. Uber hopes the self driving car will run 24/7, but it can auto refuel and do you think your local gas station will pump their gas or hook up the cord.
  • Reply 6 of 58
    I applaud Uber moving technology forward. For the hater jobs are not going to disappear. It will be a long time before drivers are completely removed from the picture so chill out. This will create many jobs on the backside in terms of support and creation. The end game for self driving cars is a safer more efficient society so I am all for it.
    gatorguylolliverpalominejbdragon
  • Reply 7 of 58
    Let me get this straight: A self-driving car that needs a standby driver paying constant attention in case of "riskier situations"? No thanks. 
    ronn
  • Reply 8 of 58
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,461member
    TurboPGT said:

    Uber has expressed a strong desire to adopt self-driving vehicles as soon as possible. Doing so will allow it to dramatically cut its biggest expense -- human workers, who need to be paid a reasonable wage.
    Fucking disgrace.

    Uber created an amazing job opportunity in the US and the only they are working on is how get rid of that rake in some more profit instead. 
    Whaa?! Uber created an amazing number of jobs, but they didn't create an amazing job opportunity. What they did was break up the taxi cab monopolies and allowed the free market to work as it should.

    Personally, I'm not a fan of Uber for a great number of ethical reasons, but I do applaud their efforts in 1) destroying those gov't sanctioned control, and 2) bringing public transportation options to rural areas.

    But don't kid yourself in thinking their goal was charitable. They are a for-profit company, which they prove daily with their abusive tactics towards customers, employees/independent contractors, and would-be competitors. Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp may be dicks, but they were smart enough to see an opportunity in the market with emerging technologies, and have the experience and fortitude to exploit it.
    gatorguypatchythepiratenolamacguyjbdragon
  • Reply 9 of 58
    This is not a big deal.  They still need a driver to seat there, so this is no better than Tesla.

    Wake me up when Apple has a revolutionary navigation system Apple Maps' Coherent Navigation, advanced street level 3D mapping and 3D computer vision, machine learning etc...

    edited August 2016 patchythepirate
  • Reply 10 of 58
    fh-acefh-ace Posts: 43member
    I'm waiting for Johnny Cabs from total recall
    dementuschikanlolliverjbdragon
  • Reply 11 of 58
    bobroobobroo Posts: 85member
    This story is related to Tim and Jony's Apple because they may or may not come up with a related or similar product 5 years or better in the future?


    I know this will offend a lot of folks here but a more relevant story would be the lack of innovation coming out of Cupertino the last year or so and how that reflects on management that has been paid top dollar. The efforts and results of Tim and Jony's 115,000 minions have been absent for far too long and it's upsetting...not just to Wall Street.






  • Reply 12 of 58
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,387member
    I applaud Uber moving technology forward. For the hater jobs are not going to disappear. It will be a long time before drivers are completely removed from the picture so chill out. This will create many jobs on the backside in terms of support and creation. The end game for self driving cars is a safer more efficient society so I am all for it.
    I don't see how you come to any of those conclusions.   The people who drive cars for a living are not the people who will get jobs designing automated driving systems, just as coal miners don't get jobs designing or installing windmill farms and former factory workers don't become computer programmers.  

    And I'm not so sure that self-driving cars actually will be safer and even if they were, I don't see Americans in particular accepting them.   I have no faith in an industry that releases products with tons of bugs and thinks nothing of it.   When my browser slows down because Flash is doing something stupid, I can go into a panel and eliminate Flash from running, but if my car slows down, it can lead to death.   We've already had at least one Tesla death, although that seems to have been the driver's fault.   But when there are more deaths from automated cars, even if the rate is far less than from conventional vehicles, people and politicians are going to freak out and such cars are going to be banned in numerous locales.   

    One of the reasons why Americans (outside of a few older city centers) don't use mass transit is because the American macho man wants to be independent and "in control", even if that means sitting in endless traffic jams.   Also, I would assume that self-driving cars won't permit drivers to break driving laws and therefore won't drive over the speed limit.   I can't see most American drivers accepting that.

    While I do believe we have to move ahead technologically and can't preserve obsolete jobs, especially those that endanger the environment, when every company desires to eliminate as much labor as possible and there are few jobs for workers, especially those without special skills, we have a society where very few can afford to purchase the products and services of those very companies.    It's a suicide plan for corporate America, but each company only cares about its own profits.   So Uber figures that those laid-off drivers would have never spent money on Uber anyway so they don't care.   But when other companies lay off their people because they've implemented more automation, those people won't be using Uber either.    CEO's only care about the next quarter, but if they looked at the long term, they'd realize that unless they make things better for workers, they're actually in a death spiral (unless you're a company who only sells to the rich). 

       
    baconstang
  • Reply 13 of 58
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    This is exactly where I think Apple have been heading with project Titan.  I have never thought for minute that anyone would actually be able to buy and drive an Apple car.  I think Apple will just let you hail one and ride in it, for a fee.  Why make 5 M vehicles when you can make more money from 50 K of them.
    gatorguyawilliams87Deelronration allolliver
  • Reply 14 of 58
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,805member
    cnocbui said:
    This is exactly where I think Apple have been heading with project Titan.  I have never thought for minute that anyone would actually be able to buy and drive an Apple car.  I think Apple will just let you hail one and ride in it, for a fee.  Why make 5 M vehicles when you can make more money from 50 K of them.
    Spot on. Ford, GM, Uber, Google. . . They're all looking at ride-sharing driverless services for totally autonomous vehicles in their immediate future and not self-driving cars you'll find on your dealer's lot. 
    edited August 2016 cnocbuilolliver
  • Reply 15 of 58
    sog35 said:
    Uber drivers are paid crap after taking out auto expenses, gas, insurance, ect.
    It is estimated that in most markets they are getting paid close to minimum wage. Ridiculous.

    And now Uber is making solid plans to replace drivers with AI.

    IMO, Uber drivers should organize and form a union.  If they don't Uber will continue to pay them less and less and eventually replace them with a bot.

    Apple should also charge Uber for every fare they get using iOS platform. Its ridiculous that a small software company needs to pay Apple 30% when someone buys their app, yet Uber gets billions in sales and does not need to pay Apple zip.  Apple should get at least 1% on every transaction on the Uber app on iOS.
    So the drivers should conspire to maintain their high cost of labor, thus giving Uber a greater incentive to dump them in favor of driver-less cars? Great advice; And you're the guy on this site always giving Tim Cook tips on how to handle wall street?

    Uber's goal is to get people from point A to B. That's it. In the near future, driver-less cars will be the most efficient means of doing so. It's remarkable that people bitch about how much others make.
    edited August 2016 fastasleeplolliver
  • Reply 16 of 58
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,635member
    I wonder what the plan is for refuelling cars when they're completely driver free.
    ration al
  • Reply 17 of 58
    gatorguy said:
    cnocbui said:
    This is exactly where I think Apple have been heading with project Titan.  I have never thought for minute that anyone would actually be able to buy and drive an Apple car.  I think Apple will just let you hail one and ride in it, for a fee.  Why make 5 M vehicles when you can make more money from 50 K of them.
    Spot on. Ford, GM, Uber, Google. . . They're all looking at ride-sharing driverless services for totally autonomous vehicles in their immediate future and not self-driving cars you'll find on your dealer's lot. 
    I'm 100% in favor of driver-less cars. What about you?
  • Reply 18 of 58
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,461member
    zoetmb said:
    I applaud Uber moving technology forward. For the hater jobs are not going to disappear. It will be a long time before drivers are completely removed from the picture so chill out. This will create many jobs on the backside in terms of support and creation. The end game for self driving cars is a safer more efficient society so I am all for it.
    And I'm not so sure that self-driving cars actually will be safer and even if they were, I don't see Americans in particular accepting them.
    1) They are safer.

    2) Americas will adopt because the older generations have a tendency to die off before the younger generations. This is no different than the argument against the personal computer and many other advances in technology. I seem to recall Jobs having a quote in line with my first sentence in this point.

    3) This is not an "all or nothing" scenario which, unfortunately, is how most people perceive how technology gets adopted when trying to look ahead. The highways are the ideal starting points for self-driving and driver-less vehicles (the latter is a subset of the former). Nearly 100% reduced foot traffic, steady movement (often with dividers for directions), and where drivers tend to experience white line fever (or fall asleep altogether) are just some of the obvious reasons why long-distance driving is an ideal way to perfect the technologies needed for self-driving vehicles. Moving even further into safety, we already have the ability to isolate lanes of traffic on a given highway for HOV or public transportation traffic, for more condensed, urban highways, which would be ideal for  passing laws in self-driving states, where necessary, and then expand outward as demand increases. 


    nolamacguylolliverpalomine
  • Reply 19 of 58
    sog35 said:
    So the drivers should conspire to maintain their high cost of labor, thus giving Uber a greater incentive to dump them in favor of driver-less cars? Great advice; And you're the guy on this site always giving Tim Cook tips on how to handle wall street?

    Uber's goal is to get people from point A to B. That's it. In the near future, driver-less cars will be the most efficient means of doing so. It's remarkable that people bitch about how much others make.
    Uber drivers have leverage RIGHT NOW.

    What happens if they all quit? Uber is screwed.

    Uber can make profits having human drivers. Taxi companies have surrived for decades and have far less overhead and pay their drivers more. But Uber is ultra greedy
    So in your example, the drivers quitting their jobs demanding more money aren't greedy? If the drivers quit, everyone, including them, are in a worse position. The drivers have less money than Uber as a corporation.

    By the way, Taxi companies rely heavily on governments for monopoly privileges. That's why they're able to be so profitably.
    edited August 2016
  • Reply 20 of 58
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    crowley said:
    I wonder what the plan is for refuelling cars when they're completely driver free.
    The scheduling Oberführer will reserve a non-peak time period and will issue a command where upon it toddles off to a high amp charging station and gets itself hooked up and filled with 100% renewable energy courtesy of the national grid and the nearest coal/gas fueled power station.
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