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San Francisco's Uber to Introduce Self-Driving Vehicles

December 14, 2016

San Francisco's Uber to Introduce Self-Driving Vehicles

Uber is planning on launching a new self-driving vehicle pilot program similar to what is already running in the city of Pittsburgh. As innovations for driverless vehicles become more and more advanced, the brand is interested in providing passengers with improved driving options for their comfort and convenience.

Currently, Uber riders who need to request an UberX may now have a chance to match with a self-driving car, though there is no way to request one just yet. In such cases, a trained driver still needs to sit at the front seat in order to take over the vehicle should something go wrong. However, this promises to be an excellent transitioning step into driverless vehicles. Uber has said that the goal is to maintain a fleet of around a dozen vehicles that can drive themselves along the crowded streets of bigger cities. Should the vehicles become successful, Uber may move on to other cities, expanding their driverless operations in the future. 

Currently, experts at the group have said that one of the biggest challenges they face is the hilly landscape. Because San Francisco has so many hills, these vehicles may have difficulty moving appropriately, and experts are currently working on additional systems to make the process more comprehensive, including lane change systems and increased awareness around bicycles. Many people bike in San Francisco, and there are thicker sections of traffic that the vehicles may need to plan for in order to avoid potential incidents. Though just getting started, the results are already beginning to look promising for the major transportation brand. 

Instead of using a retrofit design to work with their driverless systems, Uber has teamed up with Volvo in order to collaborate on a brand new SUV that could provide passengers with the straightforward approach they need to safety and functional driving. Volvo is planning on making the ride itself more polished as well, with plans to optimize the handling and turning portions of the drive in order to keep up with Uber's standards. This promises to provide passengers with a much more enjoyable driving experience, regardless of where they need to go.

Like many other developments in the self-driving vehicle industry, professionals are still working out the details in order to make the driving experience accessible and enjoyable. Currently, driverless cars are functioning as desired, but there are still many different scenarios through which the cars must be taken in order to optimize safety for all of the intended passengers. Many fans of the idea are excited to see how the test run is going to go, and many San Francisco natives are already eager to experience driverless vehicles for themselves.