Uber riders in Pittsburgh may have something to look forward to this month, as a new report from Bloomberg claims the company will begin testing its fleet of self-driving cars in the city. The test is scheduled to begin later this month, and at first will feature a handful of Volvo XC90 SUVs, with Volvo expected to deliver a fleet of 100 cars by the end of the year.
The XC90s Uber riders will encounter will be outfitted with an early version of a self-driving system developed by the company’s Advanced Technologies Center. At this stage of the game, riders won’t be getting into these autonomous cars alone, so there isn’t much to worry about in that regard. The cars will still have a driver behind the wheel, ready to take over if need be, while another person will be taking notes about the ride from the passenger seat.
Beyond getting to take a ride in a self-driving car, having one of these vehicles arrive to pick you up comes with another perk, as these rides will be offered for at no cost to the rider for the time being. It obviously won’t be that way forever, but it seems Uber doesn’t want its users to have to pay for something that still needs to go through significant testing.
Uber has arrived on the self-driving scene rather quickly, and it would appear that the company doesn’t want to rely on other companies to provide these autonomous systems. Uber envisions a future where its drivers will be replaced by self-driving cars, but when you consider the service’s more than one million drivers and the fact that its self-driving technology is still in its rudimentary stages, it becomes clear that future is still a long way off.