You know how flying cars, jet packs and things like that always seem way off into the future? Many feel the same about self-driving cars being on the road in the United States. However, Volvo and Uber are out to prove them wrong. As the Automotive News reported, the existing vehicles plus some Uber modifications “will enable the seven-seat SUV to drive itself…” Wow!
Pittsburgh gets to be the guinea pig for this project. Who had Pittsburgh high on its list of locations for self-driving cars to premiere? Volvo developed its self-driving hardware and software at its Pittsburgh tech center, so the location makes some sense. As reported all over, Uber will put two employees in the front seats when the vehicles debut. Volvo will provide tech support. These vehicles reportedly could be on the road in a matter of weeks – by the time you read this they could be rolling out.
Of course, “self-driving” with two employees in the front seat is not quite autonomous. Volvo is working toward a new version of its XC90 to enable level 4 autonomy, which still requires a driver in the driver’s seat. Consequently, while we are not quite at the moment of having the “Johnny Cab” found in Total Recall, before the end of the year, the automotive industry looks to be one large step closer.