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Uber's Prototype Self-Driving Car Testing In Pittsburgh

By Victor Thomson , May 21, 2016 05:30 AM EDT
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The ride-sharing company Uber is testing its first autonomous vehicle on the streets of Pittsburgh.

According to CNet, the car is a Ford Fusion Hybrid model. The vehicle is equipped with radars, sensors, high-resolution cameras and laser scanners.

Uber wrote on its blog that the car is designed to test its self-driving capabilities and gather mapping data. The company explains that a trained driver will monitor operations from the driver's seat when the Ford Fusion Hybrid is in self-driving mode.

Uber said that real-world testing is critical to company's efforts to develop autonomous driving technology. In company's vision, this kind of technology will mean more affordable and accessible transportation, less congestion and fewer lives lost in car accidents.

Uber is still in the very early days of testing of the self-driving Ford Fusion Hybrid. However, it is still being the first ride-sharing company to involve in the trendy field of autonomous driving. Lyfts announced its plant to use autonomous Chevrolet Bolts only later on, within the next year.

The Verge reports that in this phase of testing, Uber is focusing on ensuring that the self-driving technology is safe for everyone on the road, cyclists, pedestrians and other drivers. Uber also gave a ride in the car to a reporter from "Pittsburgh's Tribune-Review." This is the first time when a member of the media has experienced the self-driving technology in operation up close.

Pittsburgh is the city where the ride-sharing company Uber has set up its Advanced Technologies Center. A team of robotic experts are working there on developing self-driving technology.

According to experts, thanks to Apple the competition will get higher in the field. By investing $1 billion into Chinese Uber competitor, Didi Chuxing, Apple shows that it is not interested in creating cars that compete with traditional automakers. The company is rather interested in car-sharing service and ride-sharing meant to compete with Lyft and Uber.

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