Uber Dives Into Self-Driving Tech

UberSelfDrivingphoto via Uber

Uber users in Pittsburgh will soon be greeted by a driver who is just along for the ride.

In the next few weeks a fleet of modified Volvo XC90s will be on the streets of Pittsburgh, acting as autonomous taxis. A human driver will be behind the wheel in case of emergencies.

Uber’s partnership with Volvo follows GM and other major automakers investing in Lyft and similar companies, as well as Google and Fiat Chrysler’s partnership creating autonomous minivans.

“It appears 2016 will go down in history as the year of the autonomous vehicle partnership,” Karl Brauer, an analyst with the auto research firm Kelley Blue Book, told the New York Times.

Uber’s partnership with Volvo is just one part of their strategy to commercialize self-driving vehicles. They also have purchased the startup Otto, which focuses on creating autonomous driving technology for the shipping industry. Uber plans to open a facility in Palo Alto in addition to an advanced technology center they have opened in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon University.