Uber to begin testing autonomous cars

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American app-based ride-hailing company Uber have confirmed that they are developing a driverless car, going up against numerous other businesses looking to advance the technology.

Uber, which is well-known through its ride-hailing app, have said that it is testing a vehicle on the streets of Pittsburgh. The company said that it is using a Ford Fusion fitted with radar, laser scanners and cameras to develop their own autonomous systems.

The trials are being carried out with the help of Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University.

Uber wants users of its app to be able to summon a car, which will arrive autonomously in less than five minutes. From there, it will take them wherever they want. These latest tests would remove the need for a taxi driver – one of the company's biggest obstacles.

In a statement, Uber said that the tests were "critical to our efforts to develop self driving technology".

The company also said that although the goal was to develop a driverless car, the initial trial vehicles would have a trained driver sat inside to monitor progress.

This recent announcement comes in the wake of an admission by rival ride-sharing company Lyft, that said it was partnering with car manufacturer Chevrolet to utilise autonomous technology too.

Uber has also joined forces with other technology companies and car makers to help push regulations through that would allow autonomous vehicles to be allowed on to the road. Currently, there are many legal requirements that are providing speedbumps for the development of driverless vehicles.