Your next Uber driver might not be a driver at all, at least if you don't plan on using the service for a few years. The ride-sharing company is planning to begin testing autonomous vehicles on a sprawling former brownfield site in Pittsburgh.
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On the 187-acre, former LTV Coke Works site in Pittsburgh's Hazelwood neighborhood, Uber will begin conducting tests over the next 3-5 years, according to a report by SD Car News. Uber intends to construct temporary roads on the property for its testing program. So far, Uber has only shown a Ford Fusion autonomous mule equipped with a massive detection system bolted to its roof.
Uber calls the facility its Advanced Technologies Center and it's one of several investments the company has made in Pittsburgh. It's way too early to speculate on just when an Uber car without a driver might be only a click away, but the company's testing is the first step of many in changing the future of transportation.
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The move certainly ups the autonomous driving game for Uber against rivals—and partners—Apple, Ford, and Google, all of which are hard at work on various iterations of self-driven cars and ride-sharing programs. Ford, in particular, has announced that it is investing more in autonomous driving.