Can I rent a self-driving car already?

Published by on Apr23, 2019

By Expedia UK –

For some drivers, the idea of hopping behind the controls of a self-driving car seems like the scariest thing in the world. They may have been rigorously tested and depicted endlessly in sci-fi TV, film, and fiction, but the idea of not controlling a moving vehicle seems innately scary and risky to most of us who have been firmly in control of our cars for all of our motoring lives.

However, there are others for whom the notion of riding in a self-driving car is a hugely thrilling prospect. Lovers of technology and gadgetry especially are likely very eager to take this advance in transportation out for a test drive. Yet much of the world is still making up its mind about whether or not these driverless vehicles should be allowed on their roads.

Legislative slow-downs

The instinctive fears and reservations many of us harbor about self-driving cars is reflected by many countries’ response to the invention. The technology behind the machines may be incredibly safe – some claim safer than even human drivers – but it’s hard for many nations to know how to approach this potentially game-changing advancement. Creating legislation to regulate these cars and to ensure safety is proving very tricky all over the world.

Where can I try a driverless car?

There are some places in the world where you can already rent and try out self-driving cars for yourself. If you’re planning a trip to the US, there are a few states and cities in which self-driving cars are on the roads and available for rental. Although the number of driverless vehicles on the roads is small, in some US locations it is possible to rent a self-driving car, although it may come with more supervision than you are anticipating.

In Pittsburgh, for example, Uber has recently launched a fleet of self-driving cars, which you can specifically select to pick you up. The cars do have human supervision in the front seat but are entirely self-driving. A hundred driverless Volvo XC90s were due to hit downtown Pittsburgh’s roads by the end of 2017.

There are some locations that have backtracked on driverless vehicles, however, which makes it difficult to be sure where rentals will be available. San Francisco’s hilly streets were once home to a fleet of self-driving cars but driverless car legislation took them off the roads. In 2017 they came back, but only in a mapping capacity. These cars are no longer available to rent or ride.

Outside the US

If you’re not planning to visit any of these US locations, you may need to sit tight for a few more months or years before self-driving car rentals are more widely available, but it seems very likely that their use will be widespread in the near future.

In America, states like Michigan have recently published some very permissive driverless car laws, while further afield, countries like China are working hard to beat the US to full self-driving adoption. There’s even talk of India embracing the technology on its hectic and accident-prone roads.

Wherever your next getaway takes you, it’s unlikely that self-driving cars will be available to rent. In some US cities, you may be lucky enough to take a taxi ride in a driverless vehicle, but it’s likely to be another couple of years before this technology is more widely available.

Sit tight, though, technology fans! The future is most definitely coming… In the meantime, if you need to find a car RENTAL in Pittsburgh, Michigan, San Francisco, India, China or beyond, our car hire service will help you arrange a more traditional vehicle for your trip.

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