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Uber close to scrapping human backups in self-driving cars

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Uber's autonomous-vehicle chief says the service will carry passengers without human backup drivers in about the same time frame as competitors, which are expecting to be on the road at the latest sometime next year.

Advanced Technology Group leader Eric Meyhofer wouldn't give a specific start date but says the ride-hailing company won't deploy the vehicles without human backups unless they are proved safe.

Waymo, Google's autonomous car arm, is testing vehicles on public roads in the Phoenix area without human backups and plans to carry passengers soon. General Motors' Cruise Automation has promised to start sometime next year.

Meyhofer says Volvo XC-90 SUVs are being prepared for the work. He says Uber has 215 test vehicles carrying passengers with human backups in Phoenix, San Francisco, Pittsburgh and Toronto.

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