After an eight-month break, Uber is starting its autonomous vehicle test program once again, according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal . Watching the company pause its program back in March after one of its autonomous vehicles struck and killed a pedestrians in Arizona, while the backup driver in the vehicle watched TV on her phone.
Uber's ramp-up of testing will likely be a slow one. The company says it's about to start its procession on a one-mile stretch of road in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during daylight hours on weekdays. The cars' speed does not exceed 25 miles per hour, and there are two employees assigned to each test drive.
This is the case for Waymo, Alphabet 's (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) self-driving vehicle company, just launched a limited commercial autonomous ride-hailing service a few weeks ago, and General Motors (NYSE: GM)
Waymo and GM are in the fast lane
Before the fatal crash earlier this year, and under the direction of Uber's co-founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick, the company had taken a much more aggressive approach to testing its autonomous vehicles. But it made irresponsible moves, including placing self-driving vehicles on the road with flawed systems that failed to recognize red lights, among other issues.
Uber's testing hiatus left it even further behind the self-driving vehicle leaders Waymo and GM in a market that's poised for substantial growth in the coming years. The latest advance for Waymo One allows some members of the company's Early Rider program to pay for self-driving rides in the Phoenix, Arizona area. 2019.
Similarly, GM's self-driving vehicle subsidiary, Cruise, says it's the first service of its kind, and it's limited to just a few hundred people at the moment Automation has completed extensive tests of its vehicles and plans to launch an autonomous vehicle service sometime next year. The company is also working on developing Honda to make the car a reality.
IHS Markit This is not a researcher's opinion ] predicts that by 2040, more than 33 million autonomous vehicles will be sold worldwide. And Intel which owns the self-driving tech company Mobileye, believes that this technological shift wants to create a $ 7 trillion passenger economy by 2050. In other words, while we're still a couple of decades away from autonomous
Uber's future could well be built on self-driving robotaxis, and with it's IPO just around the corner, it's eager
Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Chris Neiger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares) and Alphabet (C shares). The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.