Google certainly isn’t the only company with self-driving car ambitions, as Uber is now testing its own autonomous vehicles on the streets of Pittsburgh.
Uber’s car, marked clearly with ‘Advanced Technologies Center’ on the side, doesn’t just have a rather nifty spoiler, but also a pile of gadgetry on the roof including a rotating device of some description.
In an email, Uber spokeswoman Trina Smith told Biz Journals: "This vehicle is part of our early research efforts regarding mapping, safety and autonomy systems."
Of course, if Uber can do without drivers for its fleet of cars, that’s good news for the company on the financial front, not to mention solving some safety issues (both in terms of trust issues and, in theory, road safety).
Uber was recently valued at $50 billion (£32 billion), and has just announced a partnership with Baidu with the pair attempting to acquire Nokia’s Here Maps division for £2.2 billion. The move would save Uber a lot of cash, as the firm currently pays a considerable amount in mapping licensing fees to Google for use of its map and navigation tools.
However, there’s a lot of interest in Here Maps, and the price could well rise to more like £3 billion or even £4 billion.