What Pittsburgh Residents Need to Know About Uber's Self-driving Cars


Uber recently announced that it will be putting out 100 self-driving cars in Pittsburgh as soon as this month. Pittsburgh has been chosen as the ideal testing ground because of its narrow streets and inclement weather. The cars will all be modified Volvo XC90s, which will be equipped with self-driving technology. Here are three things you need to know if you are a local resident and details describing exactly how these driverless cars will work.

Each Car Will Be Human-Controlled Remotely

Each Uber car will be controlled by an engineer who has the ability to take the wheel if needed and a co-pilot who will be in charge of observing everything and taking down notes. There will also be a "liquid-cooled" computer located in the trunk that will be recording detailed notes about the map data and all the trips taken.

All of Uber's Self-Driving Cars Have a Perfect Safety Record

Through a combination of mirrors, cameras and sensors the cars can "see" up to 100 meters, and have a zero crash record with regular vehicles. To reassure riders even more, Uber is part of a small group of companies that are members of the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, who lobbies to the government to create laws for autonomous vehicles, while keeping safety as a top priority.

The Ordering Process Will Remain the Same

The process for ordering a driverless car will be the same as requesting a regular Uber on the company's smartphone app. Passengers will be selected at random to ride in a self-driving car and best of all the entire ride will be free. In the long run, it's predicted that prices for driverless cars will be so low that they will be preferred over a private car, even for long distances.

Julia is a freelance writer and native San Franciscan, born and raised. She is the founder of Small World This Is, and has written for Matador, Roads and Kingdoms, and USA Today.