Two huge stories in the news today for Uber.
Uber plans to put passengers in actual self-driving cars, starting this month (!):
For now, Uber’s test cars travel with safety drivers, as common sense and the law dictate. These professionally trained engineers sit with their fingertips on the wheel, ready to take control if the car encounters an unexpected obstacle. A co-pilot, in the front passenger seat, takes notes on a laptop, and everything that happens is recorded by cameras inside and outside the car so that any glitches can be ironed out. Each car is also equipped with a tablet computer in the back seat, designed to tell riders that they’re in an autonomous car and to explain what’s happening. “The goal is to wean us off of having drivers in the car, so we don’t want the public talking to our safety drivers,” Krikorian says.
Furthermore, Uber just acquired Otto, the newest and hottest self-driving car (and truck) startup in San Francisco:
This fits perfectly into Uber’s strategy as the company doesn’t want to become a car manufacturer. Instead, Uber has been looking at partnerships with existing car manufacturers, such as Volvo, in order to turn their cars into self-driving cars using Uber’s proprietary technology. So get ready for Uber’s self-driving kit.
Not bad for a day’s work!