Robot labor has been a source of controversy for many years, on one hand it will make things easier and cheaper but on the other it will put many people out of their jobs. Taxi companies have been among the first to experiment with this idea, and road use for these vehicles have been recently approved.
As one of the world’s leading taxi companies, Uber is always looking for a way to expand their business. This includes self-driving cars, and even though the drivers have been against their use, the company released their first set of vehicles in Pittsburgh in August. This is more beneficial to the company and profits will certainly increase. Their major selling point is the fact that journeys will be cheaper, because passengers will no longer be paying for the driver as well as the car. Another advantage is that the robots will be able to work non-stop, whereas human drivers can only work for a maximum of 12 hours per day.
The self-driven cars will initially be available to Uber’s most loyal customers, who can continue calling a car via the app. Each car comes with a ‘safety driver,’ who will take over in the case of an emergency. In order to fulfil these requirements, Uber and Volvo have formed a partnership which will be the beginning of outfitting the entire company with these vehicles.
Even though Uber’s robotic cars are significantly more advanced than others in its field, they weren’t the first taxi company to use self-driving vehicles on public streets. In Singapore, Nutonomy customers already had the option of ordering a self-driving taxi using its app. The company has been giving complimentary journeys while the cars are in the experimental stages. They are trying to determine how much of the population will notice a difference in the ride, and whether or not they will like or dislike the idea of technology taking them from one place to another. Even though it is currently mandatory to have a safety driver in each vehicle, the company is looking forward to when it becomes legally approved for the cars to drive without them. They propose that these journeys will become safer because there will be less involved in getting the vehicles ready for use.
Regardless of their customers’ views, these self-driven vehicles are already a part of our travel. The next phase is that personal vehicles will become self-driven, and major car manufacturers are putting steps in place to get them approved for public road use as soon as possible.