Ride-sharing based San Francisco firm Uber Inc. on Thursday revealed that for the first time, it’s customers will hail self-driving cars later this month. However, this will be available for customers in Pittsburgh, in Pennsylvania, to summon self-driving cars from their phones, crossing an important milestone that no automotive or technology company has yet achieved.
Google, widely regarded as the leader in the field, has been testing its fleet for several years, and Tesla Motors offers Autopilot, essentially a souped-up cruise control that drives the car on the highway.
Earlier this week, Ford announced plans for an autonomous ride-sharing service. But none of these companies has yet brought a self-driving car-sharing service to market.
However, Swedish Car-Maker, Volvo Inc. has said the initiative is a “joint project” with the Uber. The two companies signed a pact earlier this year to spend $300 million to develop a fully autonomous car that will be ready for the road by 2021.
“Both Uber and Volvo will use the same base vehicle for the next stage of their own autonomous car strategies,” the firm said. “This will involve Uber adding its own self-developed autonomous driving systems to the Volvo base vehicle.”
“This alliance places Volvo at the heart of the current technological revolution in the automotive industry,” said Hakan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo.
The Volvo deal isn’t exclusive; Uber plans to partner with other automakers as it races to recruit more engineers, Bloomberg reports.