Uber users in Pittsburgh, USA, might be surprised to find that their next lift is in a self driving car!

‘a research experiment rather than the first drum roll of a fully autonomous automotive revolution’

The popular transportation company this week adds 14 Ford Fusions, each kitted out with the latest radar, camera, GPS and other traffic sensing equipment, to its fleet of requestable vehicles.

Considered a research experiment rather than the first drum roll in a fully autonomous automotive revolution, Uber plan to use the data it gleans in the lifts — free for passengers willing to trust them — in order to learn more about how self driving cars behave and react when in the real world on real asphalt and under real driving conditions.

In Mashable’s first-hand account of what’s it’s like to be take a ride in a self-driving Uber you’ll notice that, like Tesla, that Ubuntu helps power Uber’s self driving smarts.

And TechCrunch’s Signe Brewster, in a write up of her experience in the same vehicle, says she “came away from my ride trusting the technology. The self-driving car detected obstacles, people and even potholes, and responded intelligently.“

Sadly none of the press coverage (at the time of writing) delves too deeply in to the technology stack being used here, or in other similar cars.

But we’ve all seen enough shaky cam screen grabs to know that Linux is the engine of choice being used under the hood of the automotive industry’s self-driving experiments.

Linux self-driving cars uber