As it turned out last week, Uber has finally got a permission from California’s motor department authorities to test its self-driving cars on Californian roads. However, the company won’t get a chance to invite ordinary city residents to become passengers of these cars.
Right now just two Volvo SUVs have been permitted to drive on the city roads. Moreover, almost 50 Uber engineers were approved to sit inside the autonomous vehicles and switch the driverless mode to manual control, if something goes out of the robot’s control during the ride. The news came from the company’s spokesperson Jessica Gonzalez.
After December incident, when Uber’s cars were banned in San Francisco, the DMV and self-driving car startup seem to have found a compromise. Previously the authorities required Uber to get permission for its tests, but the latter believed its driverless vehicles couldn’t actually be called ‘autonomous’ for having a specialist backing up the self-driving software. However, Uber didn’t want to agree with the Department authorities and preferred to move its testing program to Arizona, where the initiative got positively welcomed by the state governor.
Right now the company hasn’t decided yet what policy to choose regarding future passengers of its self-driving cars. The precise date of this testing campaign launch hasn’t been announced yet, too. One thing is clear, though: Uber has joined the ‘club’ of other 25 companies to perform its driverless car tests in California.
Suspicious Statistics Revealed
Meanwhile, the Auto Club conducted its survey hailing this comeback of Uber on the roads of California. The results appeared to be quite surprising. Thus, almost 75% of American drivers confessed they would fear to be passengers of self-driving vehicles. More than a half of all surveyed people told they would feel less comfortable knowing that a neighboring car on the road is an autonomous one. And drivers with little kids were the most suspicious among all other drivers, according to the survey statistics (85%).
Some traffic experts aren’t less skeptical in this question either – for example, John M. Simpson of Consumer Watchdog, who believes that the time hasn’t come for self-driving cars yet. And the survey mentioned above is another vivid proof. However, more than a half of all respondents were eager to see the new autonomous technology on the roads, but only when it becomes much safer.