Uber self-driving Ford Fusion-01

Ride-sharing pioneer Uber has unveiled its latest car, an autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid (Mondeo), which comes from Uber’s Advanced Technologies Centre (ATC) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is not to be confused with Ford’s self-driving Fusion Hybrid, which the automaker is currently developing on its own.

The vehicle is currently undergoing tests and at the same time, it will be collecting mapping data. On the outside, the car comes attached with radars, laser scanners and high-res cameras to capture its surroundings. In self-driving mode, a driver is still required behind the wheel, to monitor mapping and data collection operations.

Uber stated that real-world testing of the tech is important to create driverless vehicles. Pittsburgh was chosen as the base for its ATC as the city has “world-class engineering talent and research facilities.” In addition, Pittsburgh has an assortment of roads, traffic patterns and weather conditions that make it suitable for real-world testing of its autonomous car.

Ford Fusion Hybrid autonomous-01

Ford’s own self-driving Fusion Hybrid

With self-driving technology, traffic congestion will be reduced, transportation will be more affordable and accessible to the public and road accidents reduced (94% of 1.3 million road deaths are caused by human error, the company stated). Uber stated that these factors are its motivation to seeing the project through and making transportation “as reliable as running water.”

“While Uber is still in the early days of our self-driving efforts, every day of testing leads to improvements. Right now we’re focused on getting the technology right and ensuring it’s safe for everyone on the road — pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers,” Uber said.

“We’re excited that Uber has chosen the Steel City as they explore new technologies that can improve people’s lives – through increased road safety, less congestion, and more efficient and smarter cities,” said William Peduto, mayor of Pittsburgh.

GALLERY: Ford Fusion Hybrid at KLIMS 2013