The news broke on Thursday that Uber would be launching a fleet of self-driving cars in Pittsburgh starting “later this month,” according to Bloomberg.
Uber customers in Pittsburgh will go through the usual process of ordering a car, but will be sometimes be matched with a driverless car “at random.”
As a way of enticing people to the self-driving car experience, Uber will make these rides totally free for the time being. This could help some overcome and reservations they might have about being driven around by a robot.
As to pricing long-term, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick told Bloomberg that prices for an Uber self-driving car would eventually make them more affordable, per mile, than owning a private car (even for “long trips in rural areas“).
Uber says it’s not going to build its own cars, but rather, partner will automakers like Volvo, which will supply Uber’s cars for Pittsburgh.
That fleet is supposed to reach 100 cars by the end of the year.
Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson told Bloomberg he doesn’t see Uber’s self-driving car ambitions as a threat, even if they make Uber cheaper than private car ownership.
“That could be seen as a threat,” he said. “We see it as an opportunity.”
Here is what Uber’s self-driving Volvos will look like:
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