Uber has expanded its self-driving pilot program to San Francisco, the second U.S. city to offer the service.
Launched in Pittsburgh this past September, the pilot program will offer a handful of self-driving Volvo XC90s and Ford Focus sedans, each one with an engineer to monitor it and take control if necessary. Customers are allowed to decline rides in the self-driving cars if they choose and wait for a regular Uber ride.
On a ride along in San Francisco, Automotive News says that the self-driving car drove cautiously and handled heavy traffic on its own, though the engineer behind the wheel did have to intervene three times during the ride.
California has strict laws on the testing of self-driving cars, but since Uber requires its engineers to keep their hands on the wheel even when the car is driving itself, Uber will be able to run its fleet legally.
Uber’s self-driving software has already become smarter thanks to the last three months of testing in Pittsuburgh, with the company saying it chose San Francisco as the second city thanks to its traffic density challenges which will allow the system to learn even more.
This new launch furthers Uber’s $300 million partnership with Volvo which allows Uber to fit its self-driving technology to XC90s. The ride-sharing company also has access to 50 Volvo engineers to help it develop its software.
[Source: Automotive News]