Thanks to Uber, it’s finally possible to experience riding in a self-driving car. Starting Wednesday, the ride-hailing service is allowing select users to hail its self-driving cars in Pittsburgh.
You’ll need a special invite to try it out, which Uber says it’s only sending to its “most loyal” customers. Uber declined to fully clarify what qualifies as loyal, saying only that it was determined by the number of rides hailed.
Where you tend to hail a ride factors into whether you’re getting an invite, as Uber’s cars navigate only in limited areas, like downtown Pittsburgh and the Shadyside neighborhood, which is north of downtown.
Caveats aside, it’s a big deal in the self-driving-car space. This is the first time members of the public can experience the technology firsthand, and the first time we can see how people really feel about these cars hitting the roads. (In case you were wondering, officially Tesla’s cars can drive in Autopilot only on the highway, not in cities. And of course Autopilot is available only to those who actually own a Tesla.)
We got a sneak preview of Uber’s self-driving cars hitting Pittsburgh’s roads. And while the experience of moving along in a self-driving car is pretty incredible, the technology still has a few hiccups. Here’s what it was like: