Earlier this year, self-driving cars were causing a bit of commotion in the public. This year, more than ever, self-driving cars were operable on the streets and becoming a common sight to be held. However, this dreamy futuristic reality came to an abrupt halt when an autonomous Uber car struck a pedestrian crossing the street. Perhaps they could have practiced better defensive driving.
This caused a dramatic uproar among people who were already questioning the presence of self driving vehicles on the roads.
But, just like the Terminator in three different iterations, Uber is back. They’re streamlining their self-driving cars on the streets, and we have the details of what passengers and pedestrian cross walkers can expect. Here’s everything you need to know about Uber’s heroic, or villainous, return.
A Not So Autonomous Update
Uber is releasing their fleet of autonomous cars on the streets with a new stipulation. They are driving manually by a human. It’s a not so autonomous update on the vehicles that are marketed as… autonomous.
Implementing a new safety standard, these cars will be monitored in real time to collect data on the performance of the vehicles. The drivers themselves will be serving as guinea pigs (better known as “test drivers”) during this trial period. The goal of this is to create a new, safer version of the inventive ride-sharing idea.
The drivers will be accompanied by another employee, who are called “mission specialist.” They are responsible for recording data and testing the features that would eventually be used in autonomous driving. Working with the drivers, the team aims to document the on-goings of the vehicle before it turns fully autonomous.
Along with testing the performance parameters of the light and radar detectors in the cars, Uber will be creating new HD maps of the Pittsburgh area with their manual drivers. Uber plans on using Pittsburgh as the hub of its testing ground. Putting as much distance as they can from Arizona.
Where to Find the Vehicles
The vehicles are being rolled out in one specific area. That place is none other than Pennsylvania. More specifically, Pittsburgh. The reasoning behind relaunching the autonomous vehicles in the Keystone state is because Pittsburgh was most heavily affected during layoffs when self-driving cars took over.
Now, the cars are back – but with a manual driver. To influence more job growth in the area, Uber is taking charge and employing drivers to drive the autonomous vehicles in the city. It could be a generous gesture or an act to correct some nasty karma.
Uber’s Autonomous Future
After the fatal crash that occurred in Arizona earlier this month, Uber reported the driver was streaming The Voice while driving the vehicle. The autonomous features of the vehicle failed to find the pedestrian crossing the street, while the driver failed to be paying attention to the street. This combined called for a deadly recipe.
Along with ensuring that their vehicles are performing at optimal capacity, Uber is encouraging trusted drivers to accompany the autonomous cars. Screening responsible drivers who know how to work with self-driving vehicles will be detrimental to the future of Uber. Without drivers who can be trust, Uber might encounter another incident to what happened in Arizona, and, ultimately, set the self-driving vehicle industry back several years.
The future of Uber’s autonomous car endeavors is still uncertain. Over the next year, everyone will be watching whether the company can tame cars that, technically, have a mind of their own.