Uber launches driverless car pilot in Pittsburgh

Caitlin Morrison
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Uber has been developing its self-driving technology for 18 months

Uber users in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania could be in for a surprise today - their car could turn up with no-one in the driver's seat.

The tech firm has made self-driving Ubers available for the first time in the US city - although they will come with a safety driver "to make sure the ride goes smoothly". The launch follows a trial carried out in May.

Uber is testing its driverless technology after setting up an advanced technologies centre (ATC) in Pittsburgh a year and a half ago. It also recently partnered with Volvo to invest $300m (£227m) in building driverless cars.

"This pilot is a big step forward," Anthony Levandowski, VP of self-driving technology at Uber, said today.

"Real-world testing is critical to the success of this technology. And creating a viable alternative to individual car ownership is important to the future of cities."

The company said self-driving Ubers "have enormous potential to further our mission and improve society" - this will be achieved by reducing traffic accidents, freeing up the "20 per cent of space in cities currently used to park the world's billion plus cars", and cutting congestion.

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