Uber will launch its first self-driving car fleet in Pittsburgh this month.
According to Bloomberg, within weeks customers will be able to request self-driving cars through the regular Uber app. The autonomous fleet will supervised by humans in the driver’s seat for the time-being. The Pittsburgh fleet will consist of modified Volvo XC90 sport utility vehicles that will feature sensors using cameras, lasers, radar and GPS receivers.
One hundred vehicles are due by the end of 2016 after Volvo and Uber signed a contract earlier this year to spend $300 million on developing a fully autonomous car. However, Uber plans to recruit other automakers for its fleet as well.
The goal, according to Bloomberg, is to replace the more than 1 million Uber drivers with self-driving cars.
“The minute it was clear to us that our friends in Mountain View were going to be getting in the ride-sharing space, we needed to make sure there is an alternative [self-driving car],” said Travis Kalanick, Uber co-founder and CEO. “Because if there is not, we’re not going to have any business.”
Trips will be free for now. In the future, Kalanick says that the prices will fall so low that the per-mile cost of travel will be cheaper than in a private car.
In June, an Ernst & Young report titled “Internet of Things” claimed that self-driving cars could add more than $20 billion in incremental revenue for Hollywood … someday.
“If the focus during that time were to shift from concentrating on the road to watching video, that equates to more than $20 billion in incremental revenue for the video industry,” the report read.
This came two months after a driver of a Tesla Model S was killed in a car crash, which is considered to be the first death resulting from a self-driving car. The vehicle was in “autopilot” mode, but an investigation found that the driver was watching “Harry Potter” while in autopilot mode.