Pittsburgh Puts Driverless Cars in Gear

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s newly formed Department of Mobility and Infrastructure is ready to take on self-driving cars, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  Mayor Bill Peduto met with representatives from Aptiv, Argo AI, Aurora Innovation and Uber on Monday to clear the roads for self-driving cars in his city.

The group discussed various aspects of allowing the new technology on their streets, including issues of safety, transparency, and data sharing. 

The discussion led to the creation of an executive order that binds the city and the various companies into an agreement that will allow testing of autonomous cars in Pittsburgh.

“It worked out at the very end where everybody came together and realized we had gotten to a point where this will be basically the foundation on which to build it from,” said the mayor. Mobility and Infrastructure director Karina Ricks added, “Right now it’s about when you test in our city, how are we going to work together in that testing, how are we going to have transparency between us, how are we going to have regular communication, how are we going to respond in the case of any kind of safety issues that go on?”  

The new technology will still be subject to the old traffic rules, with self-driving cars bound to follow the same traffic laws that apply to human piloted cars. Carnegie Mellon University will assist in an advisory capacity as the initiative gains speed, so to speak.

Engineering professor Raj Rajkumar reminded attendees that Carnegie Mellon has been working on this technology for 35 years, noted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  Despite the well-publicized accidents in Tempe, AZ and Davie, FL, Rajkumar spoke encouragingly saying, “The public should not be afraid of this technology,” adding that it will, “also enhance our productivity during commutes to and from work, likely provide mobility options for the elderly, the physically disabled and the legally blind, for example.”  Comments? Email Us.

March 8, 2019

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