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​Uber Robots To Start Picking Up Passengers Next Month​

Cast your mind back upon Total Recall (1990), Arnie wakes up from slumber in bemusement wondering how he’d got in a Johnny Cab, eventually the "Governator" had to settle for a non-answer.

Fast forward to the present and if you are the kind who gets into a cab while sober and avoids the small talk about the weather, the local football team or what you’re having for dinner when you get home then you might be in luck; if you live in Pittsburgh.

Controversy causing, ride sharing firm Uber has confirmed that users will soon be able to hail self-driving cars in Pittsburgh (USA).

The service, set to go live in less than two weeks will be collaboration between Uber and Volvo, using their Intellisafe Autopilot system.

At first, the vehicles will be supervised by a driver, who, if necessary, can take full control of the car.

Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars, said: “Volvo is a world leader in the development of active safety and autonomous drive technology and possesses an unrivaled safety credibility. We are very proud to be the partner of choice for Uber, one of the world’s leading technology companies. This alliance places Volvo at the heart of the current technological revolution in the automotive industry.”

The development of the vehicles will see Volvo and Uber engineers work in collaboration using Volvo’s fully modular Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) which allows the designers and engineers at Volvo to introduce a range of innovative and appealing features, while improving driveability, safety and in car technology.

Travis Kalanick, Uber’s chief executive, said: “Over one million people die in car accidents every year. These are tragedies that self-driving technology can help solve, but we can’t do this alone. That’s why our partnership with a great manufacturer like Volvo is so important. Volvo is a leader in vehicle development and best-in-class when it comes to safety. By combining the capabilities of Uber and Volvo we will get to the future faster, together.”

However there’s probably a few things you should know before you jump on to the driverless bandwagon…

You’ll need to plan… a lot

Going back to Total Recall and Arnie’s second Johnny Cab ride, the autonomous car hopelessly lets him down in a getaway from the baddies because it can’t get going without an address. Eventually, Arnie displaying his brute strength ejects Johnny out from his seat and makes a successful escape. Basically what we’re saying is that random Sunday drives are probably out.

Image: Carolco Pictures

Ethical Dilemma

We’re not stopping with the film references…

I, Robot is one of the few films where robots didn’t look like they were Heinz tomato soup cans stuck together with sellotape but that didn’t help Spooner trust them anymore and after a robot saved Will Smith instead of young girl based on their chances of survival things only got worse.

So, in short, according to the algorithm and software in the car, it’ll make super-duper fast calculations to figure out what is possible and who is most likely to survive a crash.


You’ll not enjoy driving

Okay we’ve ended with the movies…

It’ll be a sad day for all the purists when “normal” cars cease to exist. There will be no more thrilling car journeys or sharp gear changes and everyone will stick to the same speed limit, although the latter one will probably help with rush hour traffic.

Looking on the plus side, you’ll have a lot more free time and if you hold on to your normal car that needs a driver, it’ll probably be worth a lot of money!