Uber launched a groundbreaking driverless car service on Wednesday, jumping ahead of Detroit auto giants and Silicon Valley rivals with technology that could revolutionize transportation.
In an ambitious experiment, a fleet of cars equipped with lasers, cameras and other sensors — but with no one’s hands on the wheel — were to be deployed by the web-based ride service on the challenging roads of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, steering themselves to pick up regular Uber passengers who are used to being fetched by cars driven by humans.
The cars and their supporting technology have been trained on the city’s complicated grid for less than two years, but demonstration rides ahead of the launch showed them very able to handle most situations — as able as many drivers.
Still, the first riders will be joined by two company technicians to make sure everything goes right, one sitting behind the wheel, with hands at the ready to take over in sticky spots, while the other monitors the car’s behavior…. see more