Uber unveils testing of self-driving car

Uber testing self-driving car in Pittsburgh
In this undated photo provided by Uber, a Ford Fusion hybrid outfitted with radars, laser scanners and high-resolution cameras drives along the streets of Pittsburgh. Ride-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc. is testing the self-driving car on public streets in the city. San Francisco-based Uber says Pittsburgh is an ideal place to test self-driving cars because it has a wide variety of weather and road types. (Uber via AP)

Uber unveiled its first self-driving car on Thursday, announcing it had begun testing an autonomous vehicle on the streets of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

"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," said a statement from the ride-sharing giant.

"But this is no movie prop—it's a test car from Uber's Advanced Technologies Center (ATC) in Pittsburgh."

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

While Uber has said little up to now about its plans in the sector, the California group last month was among the founding members of an industry group called the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets which also includes Alphabet unit Google, Ford, Volvo and Lyft.

Uber will be using a hybrid Ford Fusion that will gather mapping data as it tests the autonomous driving capabilities.

The will have multiple sensors including radars, laser scanners, and to map details of the environment.

Uber said that even when the vehicle is in , "a trained driver will be in the driver's seat monitoring operations."

Like others involved in autonomous driving research, Uber said this could avert accidents, save lives and reduce congestion.

"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, adding that "94 percent of (road) accidents involve human error."

Uber has a research center in Pittsburgh and said it chose the city because it "is an ideal environment to develop and test our technology across a wide variety of road types, traffic patterns and weather conditions."

Alphabet earlier this month announced an alliance with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) in a major expansion of its fleet of self-driving vehicles.

An array of automobile makers including Audi, Ford, Mercedes, Lexus, Tesla and BMW are working on building self-driving capabilities into vehicles.

© 2016 AFP

Citation: Uber unveils testing of self-driving car (2016, May 19) retrieved 22 September 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2016-05-uber-unveils-self-driving-car.html
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