According to the report, Uber won't be sending its cars out alone. A human supervisor will sit in the driving seat, as required by law, "with their fingertips on the wheel." A second person will be sat in the front passenger seat, taking notes on a laptop while cameras inside and outside the vehicle record everything that happens during the ride. Customers won't be expected to pay for their journey in Uber's XC90s, at least to begin with, which may help put nervous riders at ease.
Pittsburgh serves as the ideal environment for Uber's autonomous trials. The city is home to its Advanced Technologies Center (ATC) and local authorities have already approved the testing of its self-driving fleet. When the do hit the road, only a handful of cars will be available right away, but Uber has struck a deal with Volvo to take delivery of 100 vehicles by the end of the year.
With Ford announcing yesterday that it intends to have fully autonomous cars on the road within five years, Uber is moving swiftly. It wants to be out ahead of its rivals with its own tried-and-tested solution, not a ready-made one from a car manufacturer that could one day eat its lunch.