Uber to offer ‘driverless’ AI-powered lifts to customers later this year

Have you ever had to make awkward small talk with your Uber driver? What if you could avoid ever having to do it again?

That could just become a possibility, thanks to driverless cars. The ridesharing app has announced it will begin offering lifts in AI-powered driverless cars in the US.

Uber has teamed up with autonomous vehicle firm Waymo to initially begin offering the AI-powered rides in Phoenix, Arizona.

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Rides will be able to hail down a lift on the Uber app just like normal, except a Waymo vehicle will show up instead of a regular car.

Announcing the news, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said: "Uber provides access to a global and reliable marketplace across mobility, delivery, and freight.

"Fully autonomous driving is quickly becoming part of everyday life, and we're excited to bring Waymo's incredible technology to the Uber platform."

Described as a 'multi-year' strategic partnership, the AI-powered lifts could become available in other locations where Waymo operates, including San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Waymo's autonomous taxis can also be hired via the Waymo One app. 

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Unlike other self-driving cars, they don't feature any human drivers in the front seat.

There's no word on when they'll be coming to the UK, as autonomous vehicles of this kind are still not road legal in most parts of the country.

However, a three-year trial of self-driving cars was recently completed in Woolwich, South London, where autonomous vehicles were tested on 1,600 miles worth of road—without any crashes—in a promising step forward for the technology. 


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