Video: Self-Driving Ubers Hit the Streets of San Francisco

App users requesting an uberX could now be randomly selected to participate in driverless test rides

Photo: iStock

Uber has taken its new driverless car service back to the place where it all started.

The ride-sharing company on Wednesday began rolling out self-driving cars in San Francisco, the city where the tech and transportation company was founded in 2009. It's now the second city in the world — behind Pittsburgh — offering driverless rides from Uber.

"Starting today, riders who request an uberX in San Francisco will be matched with a Self-Driving Uber if one is available." Anthony Levandowski, the company's VP of self-driving technology, wrote in a blog post published Wednesday on Uber's website.

"The promise of self-driving is core to our mission of reliable transportation, everywhere for everyone," the post continued.

Wednesday's rollout introduced a new car, too — the XC90, a self-driving SUV from Volvo outfitted with, according to the New York Times, "a kind of radar based on laser beams" as well as a ton of cameras and wireless tech.

While the XC90s are now operating in San Fran sans driver, they do come equipped with a real live Uber engineer, who sits behind the wheel and waits to takeover, should it for whatever reason become necessary.

The robot revolution may not come without a few hiccups, however, as just a few hours after the self-driving cars were unveiled, The Verge has already found footage of a self-driving car running a red light with a pedestrian present.

After completing its review of the incident, though, Uber has announced one of its human drivers is to blame: "These incidents were due to human error," a spokesperson for Uber told The Verge. "This is why we believe so much in making the roads safer by building self-driving Ubers. These vehicles were not part of the pilot and were not carrying customers. The drivers involved have been suspended while we continue to investigate."

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