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Uber's Goal: Replace 1 Million Human Drivers With Robot Drivers ASAP

Uber's Goal: Replace 1 Million Human Drivers With Robot Drivers ASAP - VOLVO AB CL B ADR # VOLVY, Google Inc. NASDAQ:GOOG

Uber's long-term business model is quite simple: Replace human drivers with a fleet of autonomous cars. Many have speculated this would be done, so Uber doesn't have to participate in any revenue-sharing agreement with its contracted drivers.

The concept may seem far-fetched or too futuristic for many to understand, but Uber's fleet of self-driving cars is actually here.

According to Bloomberg, Uber's co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick hired dozens of the world's top minds to work on autonomous vehicles, and a pilot project will start this month. Uber customers in downtown Pittsburgh will soon be able to request a self-driving car from their smartphone. The fully self-driving c, a modified Volvo AB (ADR) OTCVOLVY XC90 SUV, will be supervised by humans in the driver's seat.

The Volvo will make use of dozens of sensors, cameras, lasers, radar and GPS receivers to fully function as an autonomous vehicle.

"The minute it was clear to us that our friends in Mountain View [i.e., Google, Alphabet Inc GOOG 0.13% GOOGL 0.11%] were going to be getting in the ride-sharing space, we needed to make sure there is an alternative [self-driving car]," Kalanick told Bloomberg. "Because if there is not, we're not going to have any business." Developing an autonomous vehicle, he adds, "is basically existential for us."

What, Me Worry?

The Washington Post's Steven Pearlstein commented in an op-ed this week that humans shouldn't worry of the coming revolution when jobs, such as Uber drivers, will be fully replaced with robots and autonomous technologies.

According to Pearlstein, the coming robot revolution will create lots of new jobs for people tasked with actually designed the millions upon millions of new robots. In addition, companies will choose to use robots to improve the quality and lower the cost of products, which will also produce higher returns for shareholders and everyday investors.

Naturally, there will be many who may be permanently out of a job thanks to robots. These people need to "have the willingness and wherewithal to find new opportunities, learn new skills, move to new cities," the article concluded.

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