Uber Starts Self Driving Taxis

A select group of Pittsburgh Uber users will get a surprise the next time they request a pickup: the option to ride in a self-driving car.

The announcement comes a year-and-a-half after Uber hired dozens of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University’s robotics center to develop the technology. Uber gave a few members of the press a recent review when a fleet of 14 Ford Fusions equipped with radar, cameras and other sensing equipment pulled up to Uber’s Advanced Technologies Campus (ATC) northeast of downtown Pittsburgh.

During a 45-minute ride across the city, it becomes clear that this is not a bid at launching the first fully formed autonomous cars. Instead, this is a research exercise. Uber wants to learn and refine how self-driving cars act in the real world. That includes how the cars react to passengers, and how passengers react to them.

“How do drivers in cars next to us react to us? How do passengers who get into the backseat who are experiencing our hardware and software fully experience it for the first time, and what does that really mean?” said Raffi Krikorian, director of Uber ATC.

The autonomous Ford Fusions that Uber is now dispatching to riders appear to be, for the most part, regular cars. The most noticeable difference is an array of sensors that jut out of their roof. Additional sensors are integrated into the cars’ sides.

A Lidar unit uses a laser to collect 1.4 million map points a second, resulting in a 360 degree image of the car’s surroundings. Cameras and a GPS system add additional intelligence.

The self-driving car detected obstacles, people and even potholes, and responded intelligently. The expected is already mundane. The bigger challenge for Uber is planning for the unexpected.

Uber is first offering autonomous pickups in a few Pittsburgh neighborhoods. Within a few weeks, it will expand to the airport and a northern suburb. The slow rollout is because Uber pre-maps the roads its cars travel, a practice Carnegie Mellon University researcher Aaron Steinfeld, who is unaffiliated with Uber, assured me is totally normal. The cars receive pre-collected maps that include speed limits and other generally applicable information so they can focus on real-time detection of variables like pedestrians.

Uber logs each of its road tests and uses the data to tweak how the cars should respond in specific situations. For example, the cars know that when they arrive at a four-way stop they should drive on in order of when they arrived. But what happens when another car fails to respect that order? It knows it should stop if another car jumps the gun, but it should also know to go if another car takes too long.

Humans still abide by many social cues when they’re driving. They make eye contact with other drivers and can read the subtle body language of a jogger that says they are thinking about cutting across the street. Uber’s cars can predict the likelihood that a pedestrian is about to cross the road, but reading actual social cues is still just a goal.

The company plans to switch to one ride-along engineer within the next six months. Eventually, the final engineer could be replaced by a remote help center; when a car encounters a foreign situation, it contacts a human in the center for help. Uber is also researching how to prevent accidental gridlock situations and how cars should behave when there are many pedestrians in the street.

TechCrunch:
 

« Will NSA & CyberCom Split?
US Is Not Drawing 'Red Lines' in Cyberspace »

CyberSecurity Jobsite
Perimeter 81

Directory of Suppliers

LockLizard

LockLizard

Locklizard provides PDF DRM software that protects PDF documents from unauthorized access and misuse. Share and sell documents securely - prevent document leakage, sharing and piracy.

Clayden Law

Clayden Law

Clayden Law advise global businesses that buy and sell technology products and services. We are experts in information technology, data privacy and cybersecurity law.

DigitalStakeout

DigitalStakeout

DigitalStakeout enables cyber security professionals to reduce cyber risk to their organization with proactive security solutions, providing immediate improvement in security posture and ROI.

Authentic8

Authentic8

Authentic8 transforms how organizations secure and control the use of the web with Silo, its patented cloud browser.

MIRACL

MIRACL

MIRACL provides the world’s only single step Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) which can replace passwords on 100% of mobiles, desktops or even Smart TVs.

Cyber Secure Forum

Cyber Secure Forum

The Cyber Secure Forum is a premier cybersecurity event dedicated to bringing together experts, and professionals to explore the latest trends, share knowledge, and discuss strategies.

Venable

Venable

Venable is an American Lawyer 100 law firm with nine offices across the USA, Practice areas include Cybersecurity.

Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT)

Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT)

ICIT is a leading cybersecurity think tank providing objective research, advisory, and education to legislative, commercial, and public-sector cybersecurity stakeholders.

ComCode

ComCode

ComCode provides consulting services and solutions in the area of digitization and cyber security for mid-sized and big businesses.

Crossmatch

Crossmatch

Crossmatch is a world leader in risk-based composite authentication and biometric identity management.

Flexera

Flexera

Flexera is reimagining the way software is bought, sold, managed and secured.

TunnelBear

TunnelBear

TunnelBear is a Virtual Private Network services provider offering secure encrypted access to the internet.

ngCERT

ngCERT

ngCERT is the National Computer Emergency Response Team for Nigeria.

Axence

Axence

Axence provides professional solutions for the comprehensive management of IT infrastructure for companies and institutions all over the world.

Cyberstarts

Cyberstarts

Cyberstarts’ vision is to become the leading platform for amazing teams of entrepreneurs to solve the next big problems of the cybersecurity world.

Stellar Cyber

Stellar Cyber

Stellar Cyber makes Open XDR, the only comprehensive security platform providing maximum protection of applications and data wherever they reside.

QuantiCor Security

QuantiCor Security

QuantiCor Security is one of the world’s leading developers and manufacturers of quantum computer resistant security solutions for IT infrastructures and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Armo

Armo

Armo technology enhances any Kubernetes deployment with security, visibility, and control from the CI/CD pipeline through production.

Varutra Consulting

Varutra Consulting

Varutra Consulting is an Cyber Security Consulting, Solutions and Training services firm, providing specialized security services for software, mobile and network.

APIsentry

APIsentry

APIsentry is a leading provider of comprehensive API security solutions, specializing in protecting organizations from a wide range of cyber threats targeting their Application Programming Interfaces.

Techtron Business IT Services

Techtron Business IT Services

TECHTRON has been providing business IT services since 2004. Our focus is on SMBs and we are good at it. Our customers trust us, they love our high levels of service, and they love what we stand for.