It's Paul Olarewaju's Blog Again!!!: Self-Driving Uber Cars Start Operation in Pittsburgh


Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Self-Driving Uber Cars Start Operation in Pittsburgh

Who needs a driver again? Uber, has announced that starting from today, its loyal Pittsburgh customers might receive their ride in a self-driving Ford Fusion when they request for an Uber X.

The announcement was made by Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh, a location founded about 18 months ago specifically to focus on autonomous vehicles. The
project is made feasible by a combination of two factors: the support of the local government coupled with the provision of engineering students by the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Uber disclosed that a number of vehicles are being deployed to customers only on certain roads and routes that the company has already mapped out and tested extensively. There is also a safety driver behind the wheel waiting to take over the car at a moment’s notice. The person can correct the car if it ever gets confused about what to do next, and also drive customers off of the currently available autonomous routes to get them to exact destinations.
The cars that Uber is deploying are Ford Fusions with a huge array of sensors on top, with more hidden around the vehicle. The main unit up top is a 360-degree LIDAR unit that shoots out some 1 million laser beams per second to make a three-dimensional scan of the world around the car. There is another camera right below that recognises colours so the car can stop at a red light. There’s also a large front-facing camera array that looks for vehicles, pedestrians, lights and signs.

There is also onboard computer and storage units for processing data in real time. Experts are of the opinion that the fact that customers will get rides in Uber’s vehicles at this time is a major milestone.

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