Pittsburgh Uber riders now have a chance of being greeted by a self-driving car. Uber just rolled out a fleet of autonomous cars to test the technology in the real world. They’ll also watch how passengers and other drivers respond to the autonomous vehicles.

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Uber’s self-driving cars are outfitted with a Lidar unit, which is provides a 360 degree view, and cameras so the cars can respond to the unexpected along the road. While the technology is advanced enough for fully autonomous driving, for now a human driver will ride along, poised to take the wheel if necessary.

Related: Uber confirms rumors they are testing a self-driving car

Testing how the self-driving cars respond to obstacles and how humans respond to the cars are both important aspects of Uber’s real-world research. Carnegie Mellon University robotics researcher Aaron Steinfeld told TechCrunch, “Autonomy – typically people are a little bit nervous about it. But once they experience it they tend to build up familiarity and become accepting of it.”

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What about all the drivers who could lose their jobs? While Uber says technology can be “disrupting,” they also said self-driving cars could open up new employment opportunities. Self-driving Uber cars ultimately could cruise around cities 24 hours each day, and thus would require more maintenance than the average car which may only be driven for a few hours daily.

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According to a statement from the company, “Of course, we can’t predict exactly what the future will hold. But we know that self-driving Ubers have enormous potential to further our mission and improve society: reducing the number of traffic accidents, which today kill 1.3 million people a year; freeing up the 20 percent of space in cities currently used to park the world’s billion plus cars; and cutting congestion, which wastes trillions of hours every year.”

+ Uber

Via TechCrunch

Images via Uber