Although Uber isn’t in Corpus Christi, other cities have welcomed the ride-hailing service with open arms and have even allowed the company’s self-driving vehicles to hit their roads. Pittsburgh is home to Uber’s new Advanced Technologies Center, staffed by many former Carnegie Mellon University researchers according to the Caller-Times. The city is a great spot to test run these vehicles due to the area having a combination of bridges, pedestrians, bicyclists, urban areas, railroads, and their fair share of bad weather.
Journalists lined up Tuesday to go for a test drive in the company’s new vehicle. The vehicles themselves, Ford Fusion sedans, had been purchased off dealership lots and were equipped with cameras, sensors, light-mapping systems, and radar. USA TODAY reported that the vehicle navigated smoothly through the streets of Pittsburgh. As of now, there is a driver still behind the wheel ready to take over in the case the car is unable to process its surroundings.
If a situation becomes too complex the car will hand control back to the driver. Drivers are told to keep a loose grip on the steering wheel at all times keeping an eye on the color indicators and an ear out for any beeps the dashboard provides.
Autonomy lies at the heart of this multi-billion dollar industry. Achieving total autonomy for vehicles is the focal point for all companies competing in this new market. Apple, Google, Tesla, and other major automakers are proceeding with various versions of autonomy. For now Uber has proven itself a worthy competitor taking a major step in the right direction.
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