Uber starts driverless 'taxi' testing

Uber starts driverless 'taxi' testing

The prospect of ordering a taxi and seeing it pull up with no driver behind the wheel may have moved a step closer following news that Uber is testing its first autonomous cars.

The San Francisco-based cab-hailing app firm has announced it is testing the self-driving Ford Fusion vehicles at its Advanced Technologies Centre in the US city of Pittsburgh.

The cars have more than 20 cameras, sensors and lasers installed on board, enabling them to steer, brake, accelerate and perform various other basic functions without the need for any driver input.

But a driver can regain full control of the vehicles in the event of an emergency or an encounter with something that is unfamiliar, Uber say.

Located in the northern state of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh offers a challenging environment in which to test the cars' capabilities, having narrow streets, hills and variable weather conditions.

Uber has been developing the autonomous technology in partnership with the Carnegie Mellon robotics laboratory.

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