Tech company brings driverless cars to consumers in the US

Uber will be using a fleet of Volvo cars laden with lasers, cameras, and a host of other sensors to move customers around in Pittsburgh.

Uber's self-driving prototype

Uber has already shown that is not here to play when it comes to autonomous driving and, following an announcement made last month, it has officially started transporting passengers with fully autonomous cars in Pittsburgh, USA.

The race to get self-driving cars on the road is swallowing up a whole lot of investment dollars and Uber's latest move, which is essentially a large-scale real world experiment, could accelerate the arrival of the autonomous car to the consumers.

Uber will be using a fleet of Volvo cars laden with lasers, cameras, and a host of other sensors to move customers around in Pittsburgh, but will require a human driver to still be in the driver seat, ready to take over if something goes wrong.

According to US media reports, Uber has been testing the new fleet extensively on the streets of Pittsburgh, but it will still have a technician onboard to collect data, and check for issues that could arise in the system.

This means that a driver and technician will be on board each of these autonomous cars for the duration of the test.

The tech company has not given a timeline yet, but it hopes to have only one driver/technician in the car - and ultimately just have the thing driving itself around.

Don't make any mistake though, Uber putting driverless cars on the road may be much talked about now, but it isn't the first company to do it.

Singaporean startup nuTonomy is the first company to put a fleet of autonomous cars on public roads, although the fleet is limited to a small area on a flat well-planned Southeast Asian island. Uber's test is basically expanding on that and including real-world conditions as part of the whole package.

Other companies have been testing cars for years, with Google, Ford, Tesla, and even Apple making big bets in the self-driving space. With Uber's latest large-scale test, the driverless car could be here sooner than we think.

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