Uber’s fleet of self-driving cars in Pittsburgh are super exciting for anyone interested in the future of transportation—but they could come at a huge risk for passengers riding in the vehicles. A new report from the Guardian, citing documents obtained under public record showed that until June, Uber required anyone riding in one of its self-driving cars to sign a legal document that kept the company free of liabilities in case of their injury or death. Advertisement The report shows that a senior Pittsburgh police officer had signed the waiver that said: “I acknowledge that some or all of the [autonomous vehicles] in which I ride are in a development phase, are experimental in nature, and that riding in an [autonomous vehicle] may involve the potential for death, serious injury, and/or property loss.” The document also said: “Risks associated with riding in an [autonomous vehicle] may include, without limitation, those caused by equipment failure, … [Read more...] about Uber’s Self-Driving Car Passengers Were Signing Their Lives Away
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Driverless trucks will be safer and cheaper than their human-controlled counterparts, but that doesn’t mean America’s 3.5 million professional truck drivers are giving up to the machines without a fight. Across the US, truckers collectively haul more than 10bn tons of freight each year, but it’s a tough job – the hours are long and lonely, the pay is low and the lifestyle is sedentary. In many ways it’s a job ripe for disruption; robots v truckers. “Picture the taxi drivers around the world acting in response to Uber,” says Andy Stern, the former former president of the Service Employees International Union, referring to protests and violence that erupted in many cities as the $62.5bn Silicon Valley on-demand ride-hailing firm challenged conventional, regulated taxis. “Truck drivers will follow a similar pattern,” says Stern. “There will be disruption in different places. You can imagine people ringing state capitals with … [Read more...] about Self-driving trucks: what’s the future for America’s 3.5 million truckers?
Just hours after Uber launched a fleet of semi-autonomous cars in San Francisco, state regulators sent the company a letter saying it “must cease” the pilot program on Wednesday, threatening unspecified legal action if they do not, the Associated Press reports. Advertisement The California Department of Motor Vehicles has insisted that Uber needs an autonomous vehicle permit to operate the vehicles, something the company does not have. According to Uber, those rules don’t apply to the cars it rolled out this week, which cannot be driven without a human monitor in the front seat. In theory, the human operators are there to intervene if needed, but a video has already surfaced of a vehicle appearing to be an Uber self-driving car running a red light. In its initial investigation, the company claimed the car involved was not part of the pilot program and faulted a human driver for the incident. “This incident was due to human error,” an Uber spokesperson … [Read more...] about California to Uber: Stop Your Self-Driving Cabs Right Now or Else
For a minute, try to forget the hype you hear about self-driving cars and think about the single-occupant, human-driven vehicle like this: A very inefficient way to use expensive city land. Not only do extra-wide roads take up a lot of space, there’s far too much property allocated to parking—about 20 percent of the land in many US downtowns are surface parking lots. Autonomous vehicles will require less than a third of the land that cars do now, which could then be used for anything but cars. Like more housing. This is why San Francisco—a city that, geographically, has very little land—is not just planning on autonomous vehicles as a transportation solution. Done right, self-driving cars can also alleviate the city’s affordable housing crisis. “It’s a space issue,” said Tim Papandreou, chief innovation officer for San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), who recently spearheaded the city’s big proposal. … [Read more...] about How San Francisco Plans to Use Self-Driving Cars to Fix Its Housing Crisis
Google just found a major partner for its self-driving car program. A report from Yahoo Autos claims that, during CES, Ford will announce a joint venture between it and Google to build self-driving cars. The report describes the partnership as a step toward "a new business of automated ride sharing." Auto makers have long been wary of the liability problems with self-driving cars, but Ford and Google apparently plan to solve this by creating a joint venture that is "legally separate" from both parent companies. This way if something horrible happens and lawsuits are filed, the parent companies hope to be free of any legal issues. The report notes that the deal for Google's technology is "understood to be non-exclusive," allowing Google to make similar partnerships with other car manufacturers. Google has been a pioneer in the self-driving car space, with over 1.3 million autonomous miles under its belt. The big question mark … [Read more...] about Google and Ford reportedly team up to build self-driving cars