Written by IEEE | September 15, 2016 | Updated: April 3, 2017
Self-driving cars will be rolling down the street much sooner than expected, but only if you live in Pittsburgh. Uber is a big step ahead of Google’s “Self Driving Car Project,” and later this month will be unveiling a fleet of autonomous Volvo XC90 sports utility vehicles. The cars will still require a human driver in a supervisory role, but app users will be able to hail a car that will drive to their destination almost on its own.
The robotics department at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh has been working with Uber for a few years on this project; their goal is to replace human drivers and in turn, human error, with robots that can drive the cars. The cars have been modified with sensors, cameras, GPS, radars and lasers so they can learn the streets and navigate around many obstacles that could pop up when driving around the city.
Unlike Google and Tesla, Uber has no intention of manufacturing its own cars, Volvo is the first company to work with Uber, and they’re planning to have 100 of these autonomous vehicles on the road by the end of the year. The cars will have a engineer in the driver’s seat, ready to take the wheel if necessary during the initial rollout. While Uber set its sights on Pittsburgh for launch, its goal is to eventually have all an autonomous fleet of cars in cities all around the world.