Uber on Wednesday launched its self-driving pilot program that allows some passengers to get to their destination in a vehicle that drives itself, marking the company’s first public test in the U.S. of the future of the technology.
The ride-sharing service rolled out its first fleet of four autonomous vehicles, which come equipped with an Uber driver and an engineer in the front two seats who intervene occasionally, Reuters reports.
The Ford Fusion cars have 3D cameras, global positioning systems and a detection system that uses lasers to assess objects on the road. The vehicles can stop at red lights, go at green lights, drive over bridges and maneuver around other vehicles on their own.
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Earlier this year, Uber said the technology is in its early days, but some still cheered its first step. “If Uber scores a home run with this it's going to be wonderful for the planet," Andrew Moore, dean of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon, told Reuters. “The reason is we will see a much safer world and much more efficient world where we have to use less energy to move people around."