September 27, 2016
Uber finally introduced its self-driving cars to the world. They were rumored to have been working on this technology for quite some time but I don’t think we have ever seen it until today. Uber has a small fleet of cars in a few neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. This type of automation has been in Teslas for quite some time now and Tesla even just released an update.
This Uber trial feels like something different. I have watched a lot of videos of people using the Tesla Autopilot but this was that next step into not owning your own car.
I must say, when I first watched this video, the first thing that came into my mind was this felt like cars that are available to you 24 hours a day that will drive you on short trips.
Could this make owning a car something that becomes optional? Could this make people have one-car households and supplement transportation with Uber rides? There are some towns where travel is just a giant pain in the ass. This could allow us to rethink transportation once we get to a certain level of sophistication with this technology. I know we are far off from this utopia where software drives us around but, you have to admit, this is exciting and it’s fun to think about how this could change our lives.
There are some things about not having to worry about car ownership that would be a giant pain reliever for people.
Safety is going to be the biggest question as this technology develops. The first crashes of any level are going to be covered by the news and talked about heavily. That is what makes the small trials Uber is doing in Pittsburgh so important. Being able to get this thing on the road in real world situations is only going to help with the software development and find issues or any potential problems.
Just this weekend, a person from Lyft said that the majority of rides in about five years will be from self-driving cars. The technology is not going away. We might think that these things are far away but things rapidly change and technology is evolving faster than ever.
Just image one day in the future you will be able to call an Uber and just sit in the back and enjoy some Netflix. There may or may not be a driver in the car.
Written by John Siwicki who lives and works building interesting things. You should follow him on Twitter