You can stop watching Minority Report and wistfully sighing because driverless cars are officially on the horizon.
On February 2, Uber announced via its blog that it entered a strategic partnership Carnegie Melon University. The deal will build an Advanced Technology Center near the Pittsburgh campus:
The partnership will provide a forum for Uber technology leaders to work closely with CMU faculty, staff, and students — both on campus and at the National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) — to do research and development, primarily in the areas of mapping and vehicle safety and autonomy technology.
ROBOT CARS! While they won’t be of “in disguise” variety, it’s a pretty impressive endeavor I’m pretty sure a robot driver isn’t going to go upside your head with a hammer or get jollies speculating if you’ve just did the do. What this means for the auto industry, taxi and limo services or public transportation is far too early to even speculate.
This news also pits Uber against one of its investors, Google, who has been developing driverless car technology as early as 2004. It will be interesting to see these two tech titans compete. Will Google’s “Don’t Be Evil” win over Uber’s “YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME” business model? Either way, by 2020 we may never have to awkwardly talk to a driver again.