Uber on Thursday announced plans to begin testing semi-autonomous vehicles in Pittsburgh later this month. Its first partially self-driving Volvo XC90 vehicles will be assigned at random to customers who use the company’s app, according to a Bloomberg report.Each of the prototype cars will have an actual human on board to act as copilot and monitor the vehicle’s performance from the driver’s seat. The passengers who are provided transport in one of those vehicles reportedly will receive a free ride.Uber, which launched in 2014, has its headquarters in Pittsburgh.The company on Thursday also announced that it would acquire Otto, the self-driving commercial vehicle startup founded earlier this year by Anthony Levandowski, who previously worked on Google’s autonomous vehicle program; Lior Ron, the former project lead for Google Maps; Don Burnette; and Claire Delaunay.Otto, which currently has a team of around 90 employees, retrofits commercial vehicles including semi-tracker trailers with radars, cameras and laser sensors. The company completed a demo of its autonomous technology on public highways in May.Pittsburgh offers a number advantages for testing a semi-autonomous car.”It is a good test-case location,” said Stephanie Brinley, senior analyst at IHS Markit.”You have some weather. You do have some congestion, some winding… Read full this story
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