By Erin Stackowitz, Staff Writer
As Gettysburg is just now joining the rest of the world in gaining the presence of Uber, Pittsburgh is getting a new taste of the familiar car company. In case you have managed to miss the takeover of Uber, allow me to update you. Uber is a convenient and inexpensive taxi service. By simply downloading an app on your phone you essentially can hire a private driver to pick you up and take you to your destination. You can have a driver in minutes and can see exactly where the driver is when they are coming to pick you up. As good as this sounds, Uber has one upped itself and is now in the process of creating the world’s first commercial self-driving car.
This technological phenomenon will make its first appearance in the steel city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and has the power to permanently change how people travel. Because of how new the self-driving technology is, two Uber employees will accompany every trip to monitor the car’s self-driving capabilities. Human intervention is still needed for everyday actions that have no compatible computer algorithm yet, such as the wave that signals “go around me” or unpredictable weather conditions. Both employees will ensure the passenger’s safety while also simultaneously collecting images and analyzing data from the car’s sensors. Once enough data is analyzed and safety is guaranteed, Uber hopes to enable customers with the ability to order an Uber on demand with no driver in it.
This new technology has the potential to cut down on the number of traffic accidents, lessen traffic and automobile congestion and surprisingly provide more jobs. Even though the self-driving cars remove the need for a driver, they require more human maintenance because they will be on the road 24/7. Uber’s self-driving cars have outstanding potential. Recently, even federal regulators have endorsed the new technology–Jeffrey Zients, director of the National Economic Council, stated that it will save “money, time and lives.” With continued data collection and efforts from leading engineers, self-driving cars might become an everyday reality sooner than you think!