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Uber to start testing self-driving car in Pittsburgh

A test car from Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh.
Source: Uber
A test car from Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh.

Uber said Thursday that it plans to unleash its test car onto the streets of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania within the next few weeks.

The makers of the ride-hailing app said that a driver will be in its Ford Fusion while it is in self-driving mode. Uber said in a statement that the development of self-driving cars has the potential to save lives. The company cited the statistic that 94 percent of the car accidents that kill 1.3 million people every year involved human error.

"In the future we believe this technology will mean less congestion, more affordable and accessible transportation, and far fewer lives lost in car accidents," Uber said in its statement.

William Peduto, mayor of Pittsburgh, said that the city is proud of its history of innovation. Pittsburgh is home to Uber's Advanced Technologies Center.

"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," Peduto said in a statement.

The test vehicle will also collect mapping data using its outfit of radars, laser scanners and high resolution cameras.

In April, The Verge reported that Uber had hired a top engineer away from Ford to work on "manufacturer strategy and integration efforts" in Pittsburgh. It was also reported that the engineer would report to the head of Uber's self-driving car program.

Last year, it was reported that Uber had poached talent from the robotics laboratory of Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University. Sources told The Verge that the people hired by Uber had all been working on self-driving technology.

CMU had previously announced a partnership with Uber with the goal of "bringing safe, reliable transportation to everyone, everywhere." As part of that collaboration, CMU said Uber would be working with the robotics lab. Uber said in its statement that the research would involve work in autonomy technology.

Disclosure: CNBC has a content-sharing partnership with The Verge.