In a move that puts the firm ahead in the driverless car segment, Uber on Wednesday announced the launch of its first self-driving car service, a move that is expected to give it an edge against companies such as Google, Tesla, Ford and GM in the race to develop autonomous vehicle technology.
"Today, we're excited to announce that the world's first self-driving Ubers are now on the road in the Steel City (of Pittsburgh)," the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
A year and a half ago, Uber set up an Advanced Technologies Center (ATC) in Pittsburgh with the aim of making self-driving Ubers a reality.
The online cab service, in the statement, invited their most loyal Pittsburgh customers to experience the self-driving cars.
"If a Self-Driving Uber is available, we'll send it along with a safety driver up front to make sure the ride goes smoothly. Otherwise it's uberX as usual," the statement said.
"Of course, we can't predict exactly what the future will hold. But we know that self-driving Ubers have enormous potential to further our mission and improve society," the San Francisco-based company said.
The ground-breaking service is expected to reduce the number of traffic accidents, free up to 20 per cent of space in cities currently used to park the world's billion-plus cars; and cut congestion which wastes trillions of hours every year.
Uber suggested that its new driverless car service need not necessarily cut jobs drastically.
"Technology also creates new work opportunities while disrupting existing ones," it said.
"Self-driving Ubers will be on the road 24 hours a day, which means they will need a lot more human maintenance than cars today," it observed.
(With inputs from IANS)