After a successful pilot test in Pittsburgh, the self-driving cars by Uber started rolling out in San Francisco, generating amusement and even apprehension among onlookers.
But according to a source at California’s Department of Motor Vehicles, Uber does not yet have the legal right to test self-driving cars in the state. To avoid breaking the law, Uber appears to have found a loophole. The company confirmed that someone is seated behind the wheel of each car while it navigates the streets. However, it is unclear whether the car is actually being driven by a person. According to one eyewitness, the driver’s hands were on the steering wheel as the car drove by.
For now, Uber is doing limited testing and has not made autonomous transportation service available to customers in San Fransisco.
The company spokesman told the , “A handful of cars equipped with advanced driver safety and self-driving technology are now being tested in the Bay Area. These are for internal research use only.”
The self-driving cars by Uber are Ford Fusion models. They have 20 sensors and seven lasers, including a bulky scanning system on top of the car, which feeds data into the computers. The testing is led by startup Otto’s founder, Anthony Lewandowski. Otto initially experimented with self-driving trucks.
Uber is keeping its cards close to its chest regarding the testing in San Francisco. But one of the company’s main objectives is to map out the terrain so that when the self-driving car does go autonomous, it would be a smooth and safe ride.
Journalist Noah Kulwin seemed very impressed by Uber’s autonomous car in an anecdotal piece for . For one thing, he seemed giddy that he rode in a vehicle driven by a robot on the streets of Pittsburgh and didn’t die in the process.
Pittsburgh, your self-driving Uber is arriving now. Check out the future of transportation. ubr.to/selfdriving
5:46 PM – 14 Sep 2016
He said that the car did what it was supposed to do, maneuvering around obstacles and stopping at traffic lights and avoiding pedestrians. It was scary at first, he said, by trusting a machine completely but after a while the ride got comfortable.
Here’s what it’s like to ride in Uber’s self-driving car: bit.ly/2cVj1PK
10:37 AM – 17 Sep 2016
“For the ‘loyal’ Uber customers in Pittsburgh who are selected to be part of the pilot group, it’s no sure thing that they’ll hail one of the self-driving cars,” he wrote. “The company says that there are 4,000 drivers in the greater Pittsburgh area, although the autonomous vehicles will only be picking up passengers within a test area inside the city proper.”
Of course, the experiment in Pittsburgh is not without its hitches just like what happened to this customer.
Courtesy of www.inquisitr.com