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Uber Begins Testing of Self-driving Cars

  • VOA News

Uber has begun testing self-driving cars in Pittsburgh. (Uber)

Uber has begun testing self-driving cars in Pittsburgh. (Uber)

Popular ride-hailing service Uber has begun to test self-driving cars.

A specially outfitted Ford Fusion is traveling the streets of Pittsburgh, fully decked out with radar, laser scanners and high-resolution cameras.

"If you're driving around Pittsburgh in the coming weeks, you might see a strange sight: a car that looks like it should be driven by a superhero," the company said in a statement. "But this is no movie prop, it's a test car from Uber's Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh."

A driver will still operate the vehicle, but eventually the goal is to have no one behind the wheel.

The ride-sharing giant said it was "still in the early days of our self-driving efforts," and that it was "focused on getting the technology right and ensuring it's safe for everyone on the road: pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers."

The San Francisco-based company said it chose Pittsburgh because it "is an ideal environment to develop and test our technology across a wide variety of road types, traffic patterns and weather conditions."

Uber is partnering with Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. The company’s new Advanced Technologies Center is headed by a Carnegie Mellon robotics engineer.

Uber is part of a group of companies involved in creating self-driving cars. Others include Ford, Volvo, and Lyft and Alphabet, the parent company of Google.

"Self-driving cars have the potential to save millions of lives and improve quality of life for people around the world," the company statement said. "Ninety-four percent of [road] accidents involve human error."

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