Ride-hailing service Uber sent out its first self-driving taxis in San Francisco on Wednesday. The Volvo XC90 SUVs equipped with supercomputers and censors began to pick up passengers in the Californian city as part of the company’s pilot project with autonomous vehicles. Riders who request an uberX using the mobile app will be matched with a self-driving cab if one is available near them.
“The promise of self-driving is core to our mission of reliable transportation, everywhere for everyone. As demand for ridesharing continues to skyrocket, the future of transportation will be a mix of human drivers and self-driving cars,” said Anthony Levandowski, the head of Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group, which operates these vehicles.
However, these cars will not be entirely driverless for the time being. The vehicles will have a safety driver as well as a test engineer, who will monitor the cars’ functioning, TechCrunch reported.
Uber had launched its self-driving service in Pittsburgh in September, but at the time used the Ford Focus model. The company, however, said it is able to integrate its own “state-of-the-art self-driving technology” with Volvo’s “outstanding vehicle development and core safety capabilities” because of its partnership with the automaker.