Uber's self-driving car to hit the streets of Pittsburgh

The ride sharing company will be testing the capabilities of its self-driving hybrid Ford Fusion in the coming weeks.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

Uber is finally bringing self-driving cars to the streets.

In the coming weeks, the ride sharing company will be testing a self-driving hybrid Ford Fusion on the streets of Pittsburgh, it announced in a blog post Thursday. It will be testing its self-driving capabilities -- with a trained driver in the driver's seat -- as well as collecting mapping data. The test car, from Uber's Advanced Technologies Center (ATC) in Pittsburgh, is equipped with a variety of sensors like radars, laser scanners and high resolution cameras.

"Self-driving cars have the potential to save millions of lives and improve quality of life for people around the world," Uber wrote in its blog post, noting that 94 percent of fatal car accidents involve human error. "In the future we believe this technology will mean less congestion, more affordable and accessible transportation, and far fewer lives lost in car accidents."

Along with all the positive benefits for society, the development of self-driving cars would, of course, also help Uber cut back on major expenses like drivers and insurance.

Uber said it chose to build its ATC in Pittsburgh because of its "world-class engineering talent and research facilities." In fact, earlier this year, the company poached an entire team of roughly 50 people at Carnegie Mellon's top robotics research lab for its self-driving car project.

While Uber works on rolling out its fleet of self-driving cars, its competitor Lyft has partnered with GM to do the same. Google, meanwhile, is working on its own driverless car design that could power taxi rides, while Apple may one day introduce driverless cars with China's cab-hailing service Didi Chuxing.

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