We’re taking another step towards all of us losing our jobs to robots and the eventual, inescapable doom of our society precipitated by our mechanical inventions. How? By getting free rides from Uber, which is beginning to publicly test self-driving cars in real-world scenarios.
For the next few weeks, those in Pittsburgh will be able to order a free Uber ride onboard Volvo’s XC90 SUV, which doubles as a self-driving car. The autonomous vehicle will pick up, drive around and drop off customers in the city, though the number of vehicles will be limited for now.
Those who are getting anxious at the thought of a car driving them around by itself can breathe a little easier, knowing that they won’t be alone inside the autonomous vehicle. Instead, it might actually feel a bit crowded compared to a regular Uber ride, since not one, but two people will be accompanying every ride.
One of them will be in the driver’s seat ready to take control back from the car at any time. The second will be analyzing the car’s driving and processing in real-time and record everything that the vehicle is doing. Speaking of recording, the car will also be equipped with a number of cameras that are keeping track of everything going on outside the vehicle during this test period.
If successful, the test may soon be expanded. Volvo and Uber have signed a deal to collaborate on developing self-driving cars, and Uber has already signed up to purchase 100 autonomous Volvo SUVs by the end of the year.
With this major partnership already starting to bear fruit, Tesla’s claims that it will blow us away with Autopilot 2.0, and Ford’s promise to mass-produce self-driving cars by 2021, it’s clear that the transportation scene is radically changing.