Self-driving cars: Uber rollout and EU regulations
Uber have teamed up with Volvo to deliver self-driving cars to its consumers, initially with a ‘supervisor’ who can take control of the vehicle should the need arise.
These driver-free cars will also be cost-free, for the time being, to encourage use of the automated technology.
An Uber spokesperson told the BBC that “Uber will allow customers in downtown Pittsburgh to summon self-driving cars from their phones, crossing an important milestone that no automotive or technology company has yet achieved. In Pittsburgh, customers will request cars the normal way, via Uber’s app, and will be paired with a driverless car at random”.
People have already started sharing pictures of the self-driving cars online, showing the cars branded with Uber as normal, but with a host of cameras and other sensory equipment strapped to the roof.
Pittsburgh has self-driving Ubers!!!! I have never wanted so badly to enter a strange car
— Helen Rosner (@hels) August 26, 2016
Some have pointed out online this may not be a self-driving car, but rather a research car gathering data, ready for the fleet. Given the timelines, it is likely this is one of the first supervised self-driving cars.
You’ll likely be aware that Uber is not the only company investing in automated cars, with the likes of Tesla, Google and Rolls-Royce keen to be first to market with a fully-automated vehicle.
Despite their striding and public efforts, EU legislations don’t seem to be keeping up. Legislation that would allow automated cars to travel across Europe hasn’t even been proposed, and without a higher quality of internet connection on the continent, the cars won’t be able to function here.
“In order to keep pace in view of these rapid developments and to stay competitive vis à vis other regions around the world, the European Commission will have to swiftly respond”, said Ismail Ertug, a member of the European Parliament from the Socialists and Democrats group.
Despite testing already taking place in the US, an EU parliament report puts fully automated vehicles at another 20 years in the future, at least.
Swedish Gothenburg is set to test self-driving cars next year, however there are concerns that the EU needs to act quickly, before individual countries and regions create separate regulations.
“The EU has an important role to play in preventing countries from creating a patchwork of rules and regulations, which could hinder investments”, said Erik Jonnaert, the secretary general of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association.