Uber is now letting Pittsburgh customers traveling in self-driving cars. Here’s a sneak peak.
About 20 minutes into my ride in a self-driving Uber, I got a nonchalant offer: Did I want to sit behind the wheel?
I’d already seen our Ford Fusion get cut off. And then there was the flatbed that veered into our lane, forcing my cautious test driver to take control and steer us to safety.
We’d navigated around impatient pedestrians, cyclists and unmarked railroad crossings on Pittsburgh’s narrow, well-worn roads. The conditions felt a lot tougher than my first trip in a fully self-driving car, about a year ago at Google’s headquarters.
“Oh sure, I’ll go for it,” I said, feeling a mix of excitement and anxiety. I knew my editor wouldn’t be happy if I said no.
So in a gravel lot a stone’s throw from the Allegheny River, I left the safety of the Fusion’s backseat and climbed behind the wheel.
The two Uber employees I was riding with provided a crash course in how not to, well, crash. If things got hairy, I could hit the brake or a giant red button on the center console to regain control of the Fusion.