While Tesla and Google are perfecting driverless car technology, Uber will be the first to go to market with it. Later this month, the cab company will release 100 specialized Volvo SUVs in the city of Pittsburgh.
While the cars are not entirely autonomous–an Uber engineer will be riding copilot–Uber customers can still use the app to arrange pickups. The service will be free initially to encourage ridership.
Uber’s announcement comes on the heels of Google announcing its own ride-sharing service. For that reason, Uber bought Otto, a truck-startup, to help Uber build autonomous trucks.
“In order to provide digital services in the physical world, we must build sophisticated logistics, artificial intelligence and robotics systems that serve and elevate humanity.” — Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber
Like Apple, Uber prefers to disrupt itself before others beat it at its own game. The faster Uber moves, the closer relationship it develops with society and the economy at large.
[clickToTweet tweet=”‘The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.’ — William Gibson” quote=”‘The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.’ — William Gibson”]