Uber expands self-driving pilot to the streets of San Francisco
Uber has expanded its self-driving vehicle pilot programme to the US West Coast city San Francisco. In a blog posted on the company news website, Anthony Levandowski, Head of Uber’s Advanced Technology Group, said: “Starting today, riders who request an uberX in San Francisco will be matched with a Self-Driving Uber if one is available. Expanding our self-driving pilot allows us to continue to improve our technology through real-world operations.”
As previously reported, in September Uber started road testing self-driving vehicles in Pittsburgh.
Levandowski said that San Francisco – where Uber will be using Volvo XC90s – should present some interesting challenges for the self-drving cars, as the city features “more bikes on the road, high traffic density and narrow lanes”.
“The promise of self-driving is core to our mission of reliable transportation, everywhere for everyone,” said Levandowski. “As demand for ridesharing continues to skyrocket, the future of transportation will be a mix of human drivers and self-driving cars.”
Interestingly, Levandowski added that there has been “debate” over whether Uber needs a testing permit to launch self-driving vehicles in San Francisco, and concluded: “We have looked at this issue carefully and we don’t believe we do.”