The present trend in the transportation industry is the self driving cars and more than twenty companies like Google, BMW, Ford, Tesla, Honda and Uber are working on the autonomous car technology. The autonomous cars are capable of sensing the environment and navigate to the desired location without the assistance of the human. These cars are equipped with cameras, lidar, a radar sensor, odometry, GPS tracking device that help in sensing and analyzing the surrounding environment and help the automated car to recognize the different elements like the roads, other vehicles, lanes, humans and animals.
Cars without human assistance
Google was the first technology company that proposed the idea of designing the autonomous cars; however Uber successfully launched its self driving cars last year.
Unlike Google, the ridesharing giant partnered with any automakers in building and designing the self driving cars. The company set up the Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh and hired the professors and students from the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh to assist in building the self driving technology.
The process was easy for the car sharing company because of the partnership with the automobile manufacturers, so they need not spend time in designing the automobile and then the autonomous system. This method helped the taxi dispatch company to introduce the technology beforehand and many other companies in the taxi dispatch industry have started working with the automakers to build their self driving cars.
Rather than partnering with one of the automakers in the industry, the car sharing giant has signed an open agreement with multiple auto manufacturing companies. With the help of the agreement, the automakers can also partner with other ridesharing companies and provide cars to them for designing the autonomous cars.
Uber’s first driverless car
The first Ford Fusion autonomous car was tested on the roads of Pittsburgh by the Mayor of the city and by other city officials. Later, fourteen self driving cars were released by the ridesharing giant for the public use. So, when the rider books for a taxi ride through the ridesharing app, the autonomous car will pick up the passengers from the requested pickup location.
Since it was the first time, the autonomous car was accompanied by two drivers. One of the drivers will take care of the wheels when needed, while the other person analyzes the automated system on whether it works properly by sensing the environment. The people and the government of Pittsburgh welcome the companies to experiment new technologies and innovations as it will improve the economic condition of the city along with the global recognition. And the city is even ready to modify their transportation regulations and the design of the city in favor of the self driving cars.
In the real time scenario, there are many changes that have to be made on the city structure by providing designated lanes and parking space for the autonomous cars. The roads must be designed with signage and other sensory objects that will be easy for the self driving cars to easily ride on the road with causing any trouble to the other vehicles on the road. Also the transportation regulations must be regulated so that the self driving cars also run on the roads, similar to the normal cars that drive with the human assistance.
Cars rolled out in San Francisco
Being the home state, the ridesharing giant launched its self driving cars in the Californian city. Soon after the launch in December, the Department of Motor Vehicles of California restricted the company from riding the self diving cars for public use because of safety reasons, but the autonomous cars were still on the roads of San Francisco.
Because of certain minor issues, the self driving cars caused small accidents and were reported to the Department of Motor Vehicle and they ordered the company to stop their autonomous car service because of breaking the transportation laws and regulations. But the ridesharing giant refused to back-down and kept the cars moving on the roads. A week later, along with the intervention of the Office of the Attorney General of California the DMV announced they were revoking the registration of the self driving vehicles of sixteen companies. The companies can pay one hundred and fifty dollars to receive the permit to ride on the streets of California, and Uber even declined to pay the permit fee.
The DMV strictly banned the company from operating the service in the state and so the ridesharing giant loaded all the self driving cars to Arizona. Furthermore, the DMV said that the company can use the vehicle only for mapping and then the company brought back 5 of the autonomous cars by disabling the autonomous system.
Uber is the leading startup in the online transportation industry and uses the mobile application to connect the drivers and the riders. All the process from booking a ride to the payment at the end of the ride is handled by the mobile app, so both the riders and the drivers nee worry about anything. The company operates its service in more than sixty countries in five hundred and twenty eight cities. And the company has faced regulation problems in many of the cities and there are even cities that have banned the Uber service, but this does not stop the company from growing in the industry.
Even when the ridesharing company is surrounded with many controversies, the financial investors and venture capitals provide funds to the company because of the increasing customer base. This is because the cost of the ride in hailing the ridesharing service lower than hailing the normal cars and the riders can be sure that they will have a ride, whereas it is not the case in normal taxi service. Also, the carpool service offered by the Uber save more time and money for the riders and the drivers can earn extra money through this service. These are some of the key reasons on why the company still has a strong hold in the local and global market
Surprising switch to the autonomous mode
After refusing to pay $150 for taking the driving permit, the ridesharing company is now ready to take the permit in the California state and the entire market is surprised by the sudden move by the ridesharing company.
Jessica Gonzalez, the spokesperson of the Department of Motor Vehicle wrote in an email that they have provided the basic assistance to the ridesharing giant regarding the procedures for applying for the test permit and that the company has not yet submitted a formal self driving tester program application.
Soon after the restriction in December, the ridesharing company’s Vice President of the self driving technology said that the company will not get the test permit for the things they are not doing. He also said that the reason for them to stay in the state is because it is their home state and its track record in innovation. So the sudden change in the mode is not clearly understood by the officials in the taxi industry.
Each move by the ridesharing company is for a reason and similarly, the idea of taking the test permit also must be because of a reason and people have to wait until they reveal the secret. However, it is mandatory for the ridesharing giant to stay active in its homeland.