Taxi for one!
Your cab has been waiting outside your house for ten minutes as you’re fumbling around trying to find your smart shoes. As you stubmble into the back of the car, muttering your apologies to the probably slightly impatient driver up front, you suddenly realise you’re actually in the car alone.
Believe it or not, this is a thing that is actually going to be happening in Pittsburgh over the next few weeks, as cab firm Uber launches trial runs of ‘driverless’ services around the city. We say ‘driverless’ in inverted commas, as there will actually be a human present in the driver’s seat, in the name of safety or something… But still, one step closer to the future!
Uber is using Ford Fusion hybrids for the experiment, which is being carried out right on the doorstep of its autonomous R&D development centre in the town. It’s not determined exactly how many cabs will take part in the scheme, but what we do know is that those daring enough to try it out will get their journey completely free!
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick explained at the 2014 Code Conference how this research could lead to a whole lot more than losing a driver during your cab journey: “When there’s no other dude in the car, the cost of taking an Uber anywhere becomes cheaper than owning a vehicle. You basically bring the cost below the cost of ownership for everybody, and then car ownership goes away.”
The news comes merely hours after Uber announced it had signed a $300m deal with Volvo, to allow the two firms to assist each other with autonomous driving tech. An unlikely deal, perhaps, but the more you think about it, the more it makes sense. Volvo has already put a large amount of development time into its Xc90 SUV, which is set to start driverless trials around London as early as next year.