How about calling for a vehicle and in no time it arrives with no driver but is self-driven? Would you still board the vehicle? Well, that is exactly what Uber plans to achieve in the next 18 months- Self-Driving or Autonomous Vehicles.
This ingenious plan was shared by the CEO of Uber, Mr. Dara Khosrowshahi who was eager to share insight into the plans of the company to begin rolling out self-driving or autonomous vehicles in their service.
While acknowledging the difficulty involved in reaching goals, the boss said that true autonomy for every single use case is some ways away. However, he gave hints suggesting that the first Uber commercial autonomous vehicles would be on the roads in due course.
He also said that the company planned to have self-driving vehicles on the road, not for testing but for real transport uses in the next 18 months!
Uber has currently put it’s autonomous vehicles on roads in a testing capacity in a number of different pilot projects, including most recently in Arizona. Khosrowshahi described how this will lead to an influx of autonomous vehicles in their transportation system, with the aim of eventually giving over a greater portion of rides to AV’s.
Citing Phoenix as an example, the Uber CEO said that in 95% of cases the company may not have everything mapped perfectly, or the weather might not be perfect, or there could be other factors that will mean Uber will opt to send a driver. However, this will improve tremendously over time. With the passage of time, car users will be able to decide on whether they would need an autonomous vehicle or a regular car and driver option.
The relatively few autonomous vehicles will make steady growth, the CEO went further. From about 5 percent, the number will go forward to about 10 or 20 percent as Uber continues to make progress with teaching the vehicles to adapt better to real life scenarios. In time, approximately 5 years from that time, Uber could have the perfect driver in Phoenix.
Khosrowshahi added that Uber will then have to retrain its computer driver in every city and that he then expects within 10 to 15 years to be able to serve most cities competently with autonomous tech. Asked whether a child born today would even have to learn how to drive, Khosrowshahi confidently said he didn’t believe they would.