Where are the driverless Uber cars?Posted: Updated:
Kevin Kauffman has made it his mission to hitch a ride on one of the Uber driverless cars now on the road in Tempe.
After dozens of attempts, his wish to try the new technology has gone unfulfilled.
Uber launched the fleet about two weeks ago. The cars are not truly driverless but include someone in the driver seat to monitor the car's activity and another Uber employee assisting in the passenger seat.
While the cars are in service, they also perform mapping tasks collecting location data.
Kauffman says he's been so eager to try out the driverless Uber, he and his friend have tried to outsmart the app.
"We'd put in an address where we knew they'd be driving by," says Kauffman." We've tried requesting multiple rides at the same time on more than one account."
Kauffman has even documented his attempts to track down driverless cars without passengers and make a ride request. He communicates with viewers on Facebook Live and some viewers have even donated money to Kauffman. The funds are used, Kauffman says, to cover fees for canceling traditional Uber rides controlled by drivers.
Local Uber spokeswoman, Taylor Patterson, says the company will not reveal how many passengers have used the driverless cars in Tempe because of competitive reasons. The cars perform mapping tasks, but Patterson says the cars can still do that while transporting passengers.
Patterson says there is lots of enthusiasm about the driverless cars and there are a handful on the road.
"If it's a safety thing, I get it; don't give the rides," says Kauffman, who believes the cars are only in a testing phase and not really in service.
But they came out and made this big announcement," says Kauffman. "Just give me a ride, I honestly just want a ride."
Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.