Uber's Self-Driving Car Gets Its First Official Photo, Looks Menacing

This hybrid Ford Fusion (or Mondeo, for those reading this outside North America) looks like the kind of car James Bond would drive when he was over the stealth part and in full-attack mode.
Uber self-driving car 1 photo
Photo: Uber
The car has a battery of sensors on the roof that doesn't resemble anything we've used on autonomous cars so far - it looks like one of those dugouts at a tennis match with lots of camera lenses sticking out. On a closer inspection, they actually appear to be cameras, and that fits nicely with Uber's description of the car's purpose: it's out there to "collect mapping data as well as test its self-driving capabilities."

While Uber's main competitor in the U.S., Lyft, chose to partner GM in coming up with an autonomous car, Uber seems determined to go the long way around and come up with a solution of its own. Honestly, we lost count of the companies currently working on developing self-driving technologies, and we're absolutely terrified to think how much the redundancy of this parallel research adds up to in millions of dollars.

Back to Uber, the ride-hailing giant has been working on this project for the past year, but this is the first official picture of the car it uses. The Ford is currently running around Pittsburgh, the town where the initial tests will continue to take place. Speaking about this choice, Uber said in a blog post, "Uber chose the Steel City as the home of our Advanced Technologies Center because of its world-class engineering talent and research facilities. Pittsburgh is an ideal environment to develop and test our technology across a wide variety of road types, traffic patterns, and weather conditions."

Uber makes it very clear that it has informed the authorities about these tests and it's got their full backing. Also, there is a trained driver behind the wheel at all times, ready to take over whenever the car is in autonomous mode and the situation calls for it. For the moment, the focus is on "getting the technology right and ensuring it’s safe for everyone on the road - pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers." That seems like a fine place to start.

This inevitable development could mean that Uber drivers will receive the proverbial boot as soon as the technology is ready and the legal conditions are met. On the other hand, at least for a generation or two, there will still be those reluctant to get into a car with no human driver at the wheel, no matter how good the technology's safety figures will look.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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