Uber Plans on Replacing Drivers with 100,000 Driverless Mercedes

Thinking Highways
By Thinking Highways March 21, 2016 12:56

Uber Plans on Replacing Drivers with 100,000 Driverless Mercedes

Uber has ordered 100,000 autonomous cars, and it eventually plans to develop self-driving vehicles in-house. The $60 billion car service platform expects to go driverless by 2020.

TechTimes reports that Uber ordered 100,000 S-Class Mercedes-Benz limousines. This vehicle drove 64 miles between two German towns without human assistance in 2013.

 Uber shopped around before landing on the German manufacturer. USA Today reports rumors that Uber considered Tesla vehicles that have a proprietary Autopilot feature.

It is unclear if Uber will continue making large purchases of self-driving cars, because it is trying to create its own.

Uber partnered with Carnegie Mellon advisers to create its own robotic car lab, according to USA Today.Wired reports that Uber’s competitor Lyft has partnered with GM to create a similar lab.

Uber is swimming with the industry current. Most major car and tech companies are developing autonomous technology.

BMW, which is creating its own competing ride service, developed a car in 2015 that drops its drivers off and then finds a parking space, according to Forbes.

BMW described the phases of development for autonomous cars as feet-off, hands-off, eyes-off and eventually brain-off. Brain-off cars will function without any human interference and make moral decisions

BMW says, “In a situation where a truck is going to hit your car, what does the autonomous car decide to do: Save you by swerving out of the way, swerve into the path of another vehicle and possibly kill someone, or hit a pedestrian, or does it simply decide that, yes, the truck is going to hit you?”

“Brain-off” cars are estimated to be 15 years away, according to BMW. In the short-term, efforts by Ford, Audi and Mercedes have been put into drive-assist technology. These capabilities are already on the road to warn drivers of impact and help with parallel parking.

Autonomous car development is expensive but will eventually cut the immense cost of human error.

The end-game for Uber is to save money and drive down the cost-per-mile price. USA Today reports that drivers are the most costly element of their business model.

Drivers are also a security liability and account for the majority of Uber’s complaints and legal issues. Uber recently established an emergency hotline to remedy this but clearly has bigger plans.

The behavior of Uber, Lyft and their competitors, suggest brain-off cars are coming sooner than most of us anticipate.

Thinking Highways
By Thinking Highways March 21, 2016 12:56