Uber, the ride-hailing giant has been actively involved in the building of self-driving cars and it took several steps to reach its objective. The company has partnered with many automobile manufacturers, such as Lyft ride-hailing service and General Motors Co (GM.N) to speed up their process. Both the hardware and software implementation are the crucial elements to building a vehicle that produces optimum output.
In order to develop self-driving cars, Uber Technologies Inc formed an alliance with the Volvo Car Group and the deal was estimated about three hundred million dollars. In the August 2016, Uber acquired Otto, a self-driving truck companyfor about 680 million dollars. Otto is a startup company that focused mainly on the development of self-driving technology and the Google veterans founded it.
Self-driving cars of Uber
In December 2016, Uber has started providing free rides in the name of self-driving cars and the cars are filled with radars, lidars, cameras, and onboard computers at California. This car will respond when the user makes a request for a ride through the Uber app and it automatically picks up the passengers and reaches the specified destinations.The human drivers will be present inside the cars and in the case of emergency they will take over the control of the vehicle.
This method is similar to the approach of Google, Ford, and Tesla for autonomous vehicle and these firms have already obtained the license for testing from the California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). After the introduction of this kind of cars by Uber, the Deputy Director and Chief Counsel of DMV have accused the Uber for operating illegally without receiving test permit to ride the autonomous vehicles on public roads.
California Government mainly insisted on the permits because the company must assure that the test vehicle is under the control of trained personnel and it also needs a five million dollar worth bond. This agreement is applicable in the case of any failures in the system and also for any accidents due to the malfunctioning of the autonomous vehicles.
The company replied that the rules are applicable only for the cars that drive onits own, but their cars are not autonomous.These regulations are made for cars that drive without any process of controlling and monitoring by the human drivers. It also added that their cars are not capable of driving without the human monitoring.
Otto’s self-driving truck
Otto is the startup company working on the latest car technology called self-driving technique and it also did a test drive with the self-driving truck in May 2016 at Nevada.When the DMV officials of Nevada confronted about this issue, the company answered that the truck was monitored by the engineer and it was not a self-driving truck.
Otto’s approach to this issue got success in Nevada, but the authorities considered the event as an illegal and it did not punish the firm.But in California, the DMV did not accept the Uber’s activity and severely warned the company to seek the testing permit. The DMV asked the Uber to provide the details of the number of times the car needs the human driver to take control. The Uber was not responded to the California’s DMV statement and it also not provided the disengagement rate and later it stopped its self-driving cars in the state.
Operation in Arizona
After the controversy with the California state government, the Uber has launched its self-driving cars in Arizona. The Department of Motor Vehicles of Arizona granted the permission for sixteen cars for testing the concept of autonomous cars. In California, the Government asked to pay 150 dollars for permitting the self-driving vehicles on the public road. But in Arizona, the company received permission from the officials to make a test drive without any demand.
In Arizona, the users can avail the self-driving Volvo XC90 SUV cars to reach their destinations. Every car will have two engineers during the ride and if there is any unpredictable situation happens, these two will take the control of the cars. It was predicted that the company would extend this services in all other cities.
In the month of October 2016, the team of Anheuser-Busch InBev NV and Uber Technologies Inc have delivered the first commercial shipment with the help of a self-driving truck.The AB InBev predicted that if the company has adopted these self-driving trucks for its distribution network, then it could save about fifty million dollars in a year. The estimation also includes the supplement of technology and the drivers accompanied during the ride and the savings are from the fuel and increase in the delivery schedule.
Self-driving got more political attention when the driver of autopilot system of Tesla Motor Inc died and the policies are formulated in a faster way. The team of Otto got consent for the delivery of goods from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs and the drive was succeeded. The truck carried beer and it has traveled about 120 mile where the road was viewed by the radar, lidar and cameras and steering, acceleration and braking was controlled by the Otto’s system and the professional driver was not at the drivers’ place.
The DMV has started to investigate about the specification of the Otto’s autonomous trucks, whether they fulfill the regulations made for self-driving vehicles in the state. If the vehicle weighs more than ten thousand pounds, then that vehicle must not be granted for testing on public roads. But, majority of the commercial trucks are weigh higher than fifteen thousand pounds.
Advantages of autonomous truck
Most of the people considered that the trucks are not suitable for self-driving technology because of its larger size and huge weight. But the fact is commercial trucks are specialize for long rides that are crucial elements for self-driving features. These vehicles are spending more time on the highways or open roads and it hardly encounter busy roads with more traffic and pedestrians. Addition to this, the roads is generally well recognized and the other vehicles on the highway are easily identified.
The experts believed that the ninety of driving that consists of navigating highways and crossing intersections can be automated easily. In future, there will be more number of self-driving trucks that replace the human drivers. To implement this technology, there must be high level of independence and an endless modernized road. Before the fulfillment of these requirements, commercial trucks will get semi-autonomous system that allows the driver to take backseat during the drive.
The navigation of these vehicles is entirely monitored by the group of professionals with the help of sensors, monitors, and computer systems and it will reduce the stress related to the long drive.This truck also increases the safety of drivers and other vehicles on the road.
Self-driving trucks can decrease the service costs and increase the rate of efficiency, which are the most crucial factors for businesses.Human drivers are exposed to many diseases and unknowingly making many errors particularly on the long-haul routes. Hence, the companies have to provide entire medical incentives and coverage to keep their drivers in a healthy condition. Even the semi self-driving trucks can also ease these requirements because it reduces the time spent for driving.
Anand Rajendran is CEO and Co-Founder of Dectar apps, best PHP scripts development company located in India. Dectar is a part of Casperon Technologies a leading social and mobile development company which is Developing Taxi Dispatch Software. I’m a Tech geek, Digital marketing expert, Entrepreneur, and Atheist who loves to write everything about PHP Scripts and mobile application development. Cabily Script is a clone of Uber, which developed by the tech gigs of his company.