Uber's self-driving pilot program launches in Tempe
TEMPE, Ariz. (KSAZ) - It's going to be a common sight on Arizona roadways.
Uber's new self-driving cars are now out and about, picking up passengers in the Tempe area.
"It's the dream... right?" Sammy Ghorbanian said.
Ghorbanian, one of the operations specialists with Uber, says it's amazing to see these cars picking up passengers after more than two years of development. The specially-equipped Volvo XC90's will still have operators in the front seats just to make sure everything is running smoothly.
But from the back seats, passengers can see on a monitor what the car sees from its different sensors and radars.
"It's actually very streamline," Ghorbanian said. "We use a host of sensors, cameras, lightdar and radar in order to detect the environment around us and be able to detect objects, predict their behavior and act accordingly in order to maintain a safe bubble around the car."
When we were on our ride, the SUV easily navigated the busy streets of downtown Tempe, adjusted speed to traffic conditions and slowly came to a stop at traffic lights and stop signs.
"We're happy that they're here testing and not in California," Gov. Doug Ducey said.
Gov. Ducey applauds Uber for choosing Arizona after they had a public spat with California and their laws concerning autonomous vehicles.
"Uber has chosen Arizona because we are open for business, because we basically said we're open for this kind of testing," he said. "We embrace this technology."
The hope is that one day these cars will be completely driverless.