Driverless Car Edges Closer to Science Fiction
Uber’s 21st century, technology has created things that we once only dreamt about in science fiction. A Washington Post reporter stepped into this new technology when he drove Uber’s new driverless car.
Reporter Brian Fung and some of Uber’s best customers were able to evaluate how well the technology worked on Wednesday. After the ride, he announced it offered a technical taste of something once only considered in science fiction and added. It’s better than Google’s version because it accelerated and braked like a real human would.
Uber said it intends to build a whole fleet of the cars to replace the one operated by human drivers.
Our First Ride In The Driverless Car
The test took place in Pittsburgh’s Strip District which offered a bit of almost everything. The driverless cars drove the group over several bridges, down high-speed highways, through congested areas, and across railroad tracks. However, Funk said they avoided really steep hills and poorly marked streets.
There were two Uber “safety drivers” in each test vehicle. They were along to observe first hand what Uber had created. The safety drivers were some of Uber’s best drivers and underwent a two-week training course. Like the usual driver’s licence test, the driverless cars went through different types of neighborhoods during different times of the day.
Fung said there were few mishaps along the route and it was so much like a normal ride, it became “mundane.“
Uber would not say how many of the driverless cars will be available when service begins. They did say the company would offer the service free to favored clientele. Users will have to add a Uber X app to their phones in order to call for a car.
Eric Meyhofer, the lead engineer for Uber’s Pittsburgh facility, said the company has two models, but a third one will be developed.
Meyhofer described the computerized Ford Fusion as a “desktop model.” The four-door sedan is developed with aftermarket products and features a bulky camera anchored to its rooftop.
A Volvo, developed in “full partnership” with the car company, is described as a “laptop.” It offers a “thinner, sleeker sensor package. Meyhofer promised the next version will be “like a smartphone.”
The Uber engineer said the Fusion comes equipped with seven laser sensors. There is also a 360-degree radar and 20 optic cameras. They create a three-dimensional map which can record 1.4 million data points per second around the world.
However, Uber admits it has not tested its driverless automobile in any harsh, frigid and slippery winter conditions.