About a year and a half ago, Google said it wanted to start its own version of Uber, but with driverless cars. That was back in February 2015, and alas, the plan has yet to come to fruition. However, Uber itself is stepping up and actually making it into reality, as early as this month.
A new report from Bloomberg says that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick felt the pressure from Google and described Uber having self-driving cars as “existential” for the company: “The minute it was clear to us that our friends in Mountain View were going to be getting in the ride-sharing space, we needed to make sure there is an alternative [self-driving car]. Because if there is not, we’re not going to have any business.”
Uber users in Pittsburgh will supposedly be able to hop in a driverless car this month, but they won’t be alone in the vehicle. The custom Volvo XC90 SUVs will be equipped with “dozens of sensors that use cameras, lasers, radar, and GPS receivers,” but also two employees: One in the driver’s seat who can take over in case something goes wrong or a scenario is encountered where the self-driving technology isn’t yet sufficient, and another sitting shotgun who will take notes on a laptop.
Getting a driverless Uber, at least for now, will be luck of the draw. Pittsburgh users will be assigned a driverless car at random, and the trip will be free. The Bloomberg report goes into much greater detail about this new initiative, so find that here, and let us know in the comments if you’d trust an Uber without a human behind the wheel at all times.
Featured Image: HBO