Uber in Testing Mode: Autonomous Vehicles


While residents in British Columbia haven’t had the chance to experience Uber yet, the multinational online transportation network company has gone full force and is advancing another step further in the world of commuting.

Last week, Uber started testing its autonomous vehicle (AV) capabilities with robot taxis in Pittsburgh. We can all assume that this technology has been tested to almost-ready-to-launch levels, but to my surprise reading this article, one reporter for MIT confirmed that his self-driving Uber needed human help. The testing actually requires a driver in the vehicle in case of emergency. While the car “performed admirably in many difficult situations – reacting to pedestrians darting into the road, for example – I mostly felt pretty safe,” the tester says.

He also made mention that the biggest challenge was paying attention when the car was in control to what was happening on the road. I guess that makes sense – as a passenger, we’re able to look out the windows and observe the world outside, use our cell phones, take a nap and essentially do whatever we want! Makes me wonder if people supposed to be the back up driver of these AV’s, are they going to be able to draw the line between being a behind-the-wheel-supervisor and as a typical passenger.

The idea of autonomous driving is great, but small details like random children chasing their balls on to the road are in fact real-life scenarios. Are sensors and technology going to react as fast as humans?  Is the world really ready to accept AV’s? Who would be to blame if an accident were to happen? How would this affect our insurance premiums that are already considered one of the highest in the country?

Lots of questions and opinions on self-driving vehicles these days – finish reading the article to see what other companies like Apple and Tesla are doing.

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