Uber to Launch Self-Driving Cars in Pittsburgh This Month
Near the end of 2014, Uber co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick flew to Pittsburgh on a mission: to hire dozens of the world’s experts in autonomous vehicles. The city is home to Carnegie Mellon University’s robotics department, which has produced many of the biggest names in the newly hot field. Sebastian Thrun, the creator of Google’s self-driving car project, spent seven years researching autonomous robots at CMU, and the project’s former director, Chris Urmson, was a CMU grad student.
The city that gets first dibs for the driverless cars will be Pittsburgh, PA, where randomly selected Uber users will have a driverless, sensor-equipped Volvo XC90 dispatched to them instead of a regular car.
Before you say you are done with Uber, it’s a lot safer than you think – the law requires the cars to have specially trained back-up drivers, who will keep their hands lightly on the steering wheel should anything go wrong.
An engineer will also sit up front, taking notes. And cameras will be recording everything that happens, both inside and outside the car, so glitches can be resolved.