The technology company Google started to work on a pioneering technology- the autonomous cars and many other automobile companies were also interested in the idea of building the self driving cars. But the leading online transportation company based in San Francisco already launched its self driving cars on the road.The autonomous cars
To begin with its mission on building the self driving cars, the online transportation company set up the ATC (Advanced Technologies Center) in Pittsburgh. The ride sharing company staffed professors and students from the Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh who are well versed in robotics technology. Designing the self driving car requires more technology like the use of sensors and computer systems to sense the environment and drive the cars on the road.
In general, the self driving cars involve a rotating laser called the Lidar that will scan the surrounding environment is direct the car to move in the right direction, and then it requires the cameras, GPS tracking devices, gyroscopes and accelerometer. The important aspect that is required in building the self driving car is that, it should differentiate between the people, animals, other vehicles, lanes and other things on the road and instruct the vehicle on how to react during unpredictable situations.
By taking into account about all the situations and incidents, Uber designed the self driving cars and launched the car in September 2016. As it is the initial stage, two drivers accompany with the autonomous cars to handle certain situations. One of the drivers will take care of the wheels when required and the other person analyses the autonomous system of the vehicle on how it works and directs the vehicle. The ridesharing company has partnered with many auto makers in designing the autonomous cars.
Smart upgrades on the transportation infrastructure
When the self driving cars run on the road, certain changes have to be made on the roads so that the sensor and the autonomous system in the vehicle will direct the vehicle accordingly. Some of the upgrades that has to be followed are
- Improving the signage or signals at the intersection will help in optimizing the movement of the autonomous cars.
- The Non exclusive entry to some bus lanes that are exclusively designated for all the self driving cars, irrespective of the provider.
- Painting or designation of the lanes in specific locations and intersections that will be easy for the self driving cars to sense the environment surrounding it.
- The DSRC signals must be installed in the cities so that the autonomous cars can use the system while driving on the road.
- The self driving cars must have designated spots for the pickup and drop-off areas in the city so that it will be easy for autonomous device to locate the commuters.
- During the snowy season, the transportation department must prioritize the snow removal in the lanes dedicated for the self driving cars to enable continued service.
- New bike lanes can be installed in some streets, so the bike riders can drive without any distractions and it will also be safer and easier for the autonomous cars.
- The non exclusive allowance in the municipal parking lots for the autonomous cars during the dispatch time, however the providers will have to contribute to the cost associated with it.
Driverless cars on the streets of San Francisco
Uber has its headquarters in San Francisco and being the home state, the ride sharing company launched its autonomous service in the city. The company expected that its new technological innovation will be accepted by the San Franciscans and the government, similar to the other places. Most of the states in the country have welcomed the benefits and uses of the new technology, particularly Pittsburgh, Florida, Nevada and Arizona. These states have encouraged the company to work on new technologies and innovations.
When the self driving cars hit on the roads of San Francisco, the transportation department and other higher officials from the state revoked against autonomous cars. The state officials and the transportation department asked the ridesharing company to conduct a test drive in San Francisco, before the launch of the service for the public use. But the company refused to take up the testing of the self driving cars because the company claimed that the autonomous cars always had drivers accompanying the ride. However, the Motor vehicles department of the State refused to accept the argument of the company and abruptly halted the self driving car service.
The Department of Motor vehicles stated that about twenty companies have agreed for the beta testing and has obtained the testing permit for one hundred and fifty dollars, therefore if the ride sharing refuses to obtain the testing permit- then the self driving service offered by the company is considered illegal.
Autonomous service disabled
Since the DMV of the state has halted the self driving service, the autonomous cars will be used in the mapping purpose. As many other companies have obtained the permit, the ride sharing company has to revisit the issue on the autonomous cars service if they want to drive on the roads and streets of the state.
Apart from this issue, the company also faced regulatory issue after few complaints about the self driving cars. The reports have video evidence on the self driving cars disobeying the traffic rules in one case and in another one- the self driving car has hit the intersection lane. All these complaints prove that the self driving service is not safe to ride on the roads and streets.
Moved to the neighboring state
As the autonomous service is illegal in San Francisco, the autonomous Ford Fusion cars are used for mapping and collecting data about the cars in the state. But the self driving service is permitted in other states like Florida, Nevada, Pittsburgh and Arizona, so the company uploaded all the autonomous Volvo XC 90 vehicles in a truck and transported it to Arizona.
Before introducing the autonomous cars in the state, the state must revise their rules and regulations so that the self driving cars are also involved in it and the transportation department and the municipal corporation must work on certain changes and modifications on the street so, when the self driving cars are launched in the state it will be a safe environment for both the public and the autonomous vehicles. So, though innovations are a significant factor of the state’s future- it must follow the standards because the self driving cars have both positive and negative reviews.
Also the self driving cars will eliminate the man power and there are chances for many drivers to lose their job.
The company has achieved its mission of building and designing the self driving cars, but launching the service successfully in the state seems to be a difficult one. It is the responsibility of the online transportation company to prove that the autonomous feature in safe for the people to travel and it must also follow all the regulations and state rules for the cars to get the permit to ride on the streets of the state. It is obvious that all new innovations and technology will have its dark side, but it is the responsibility of the online ride sharing company to prove that the autonomous service offered by them paves way for a safer environment.