Photo Credit: Uber
If you’ve driven around Pittsburgh lately, you may have seen Uber’s first self-driving car zipping around. While locals have been pointing out its existence for at least a year, Uber finally publicly unveiled its plans in a blog post on March 19. The hybrid Ford Fusion, which is in the early stages of safety testing, “will be collecting mapping data as well as testing its self-driving capabilities” in the coming weeks. The car is being operated out of Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center, which is located in Pittsburgh. It’s equipped with different sensors including laser scanner, high-resolution cameras, and radar, but a human rider will be in the car at all times.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
In the race to produce the first self-driving taxi, Uber is making serious strides. The move to Pittsburgh included heavy hiring from Carnegie Mellon University and the National Robotics Engineering center, in an effort to kickstart the ATC program. Setting up shop in Pittsburgh was highly intentional, as Carnegie Mellon credits itself with being the birthplace of autonomous vehicles. Uber reiterated its commitment to the city, noting, “Pittsburgh is an ideal environment to develop and test our technology across a wide variety of road types, traffic patterns, and weather conditions. The city’s long history of innovation continues today as it helps us shape the future of transportation. The company said they believe their technology, “will mean less congestion, more affordable and accessible transportation, and far fewer lives lost in car accidents.”