Uber self-driving in Steel City

An Uber self-driving car was seen in Pittsburgh and Uber appears to be ramping up self-driving research in Steel City.

The mid-sized car that looks like a Subaru WRX, has radar on the top and “Uber Advanced Technologies Center” on the side.

“This vehicle is part of our early research efforts regarding mapping, safety, and autonomy systems,” Uber spokeswoman Trina Smith wrote in an e-mail to Pittsburgh Business Times.

Starting in January, Uber began hiring top engineers from Carnegie Mellon University’s NREC, as many as half of its total staff. Then Uber announced a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University in February.

Uber is leasing a 53,000 square feet former restaurant supply store in Pittsburgh for a new technologies center by the end of the year.

Uber’s CEO Tavis Kalanick said at Code Conference “When there’s no other dude in the car, the cost of taking an Uber anywhere becomes cheaper than owning a vehicle. So the magic there is, you basically bring the cost below the cost of ownership for everybody, and then car ownership goes away.”

Uber said in a news release that it “is funding faculty chairs and graduate fellowships, recognizing and supporting Carnegie Mellon’s world-renowned faculty and attracting the best and brightest graduate students.”

Uber isn’t the only company in the race for self-driving cars. NVIDIA is shipping its DRIVE PX self-driving car computer platform.Bosch is testing a self-driving Tesla S duo in U.S. & Germany. Other companies working on self-driving cars are Delphi, Audi, Google and Mercedes-Benz.

A survey conducted by the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University reveals that parents want connected car controls.