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Uber to launch driverless car service in Pittsburgh

Uber will deploy driverless cars for its ride-sharing services in Pittsburgh this month, pushing the envelope for the use of self-driving technology.

Uber said, the program would begin with the cars carrying company "co-pilots," engineers and safety personnel, after testing the cars in the western Pennsylvania city without passengers for months.

At the same time, Uber also announced two other moves to further solidify itself as a trailblazer in driverless cars:

-- It established a $300 million venture with Chinese-owned, Sweden-based Volvo Cars to develop self-driving cars for sale by 2021;

-- Uber is buying Otto, a San Francisco start-up developing self-driving commercial trucks.

"Together, we now have one of the strongest autonomous engineering groups in the world; self-driving trucks and cars that are already on the road thanks to Otto and Uber's Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh," said Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick in a statement.

The company gave few details on the Pittsburgh project, which has been in the planning since last year.

Nils Hagen-Frederiksen, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, which oversees Uber's operations in the state, said they were awaiting information from the company on its Pittsburgh plan.

"We will be carefully reviewing that based on our commitment to safeguarding the travelling public," he told AFP.

Topics: Uber , Transportation , Technology , Volvo
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