What Uber’s Self-Driving Car Tests Can Teach You About Offering New Services (Watch)

Uber is starting to test out its self-driving car service in Pittsburgh. And it’s doing it with real passengers in the vehicles.

There will still be a driver in the front seat of each self-driving car with hands on the wheel in case they need to take over at any point. And an engineer will also be in the passenger seat to take notes. Since the service is still in its early testing phase, Uber passengers who use the self-driving car service will get those rides for free.

There currently aren’t any fully autonomous vehicles on the road. And a few recent crashes have regulators worried. But Uber’s ultimate goal is to cut drivers out of the equation completely and just have passengers ferried around by self-driving cars, which could ultimately cut costs drastically for both Uber and its passengers.

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Even if the new product or service you’re offering is nothing nearly as high tech as a self-driving car, beware. Testing customer experience to be sure it’s all you hope is still critical. Is there a way you could offer some of your customers a free version of your new product or service for a  limited time in return for some detailed feedback? Or maybe you could offer a reduced rate to those willing to try the new service — and then ask customers who enjoyed it if they’d be willing to give a testimonial.

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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

5 Reactions
  1. But isn’t it kind of scary? Don’t get me wrong. I am glad that a technology like this is created. But I am wondering if it is really good and is not prone to accidents.

    • Well, I’m sure that’s why they’ll have to do lots of testing. And having a driver ready to take over should make people feel a bit safer (I would imagine, anyway)

  2. Product testing with potential customers is a great opportunity when developing a business plan and new product strategy especially when assessing feasibility. This is also a lesson in PR and grabbing the headlines – even if this is a long way off, the benefits of positive forward looking statements showing product leadership helps position the business well in the eyes of its customers. ps I’ll have the taxi with the driver !

    • Haha I’m with you about sticking with the driver for now. But that’s a great point about grabbing the headlines – Uber is showing itself to be a leader in this new part of the industry where there seems to be a lot of competition growing.

  3. Very interesting.. I also find it interesting that whenever a regulator suggests that they comply with the same rules their competitors are required to comply with, which would create a fair playing field for healthy competition, Uber routinely brings up its own ability to create lots of jobs and how great that is for the economy. Meanwhile, they’re simultaneously developing and launching the very means to do away with their entire workforce as soon as humanely (pun intended) possible!