The option to hail a ride in a self-driving car, which was science fiction just a few years ago, will soon be available to Uber users in Pittsburgh, the first time the technology has been offered to the general public.
Within weeks, the company announced Thursday, customers will be able to opt into a test program and summon an autonomous Ford Fusion. But since the technology has not been perfected, the cars will come with human backup drivers to handle any unexpected situations.
Although other companies including Google are testing self-driving cars on public roads, none offers rides to regular people. As an enticement, the autonomous rides will be free, the company said.
Uber, which has a self-driving research lab in Pittsburgh, has no immediate plans to deploy autonomous cars in other cities. But in an interview with The Associated Press, CEO Travis Kalanick said development of the vehicles is paramount for the San Francisco company, which has grown exponentially after starting seven years ago.
“We’ve got to be laser-focused on getting this to market, because it’s not a side project for us,” he said. “This is everything. This is all the marbles for Uber.” More info
By AP www.emirates247.com