Uber Technologies Inc. is a global network transportation company with the head office in San Francisco (California, USA). The company provides its clients with the opportunity to order a taxi in almost any large city in the world using a simple smartphone application.
Self-driving option by Uber
In late 2014 Travis Kalanick, a co-founder and the present CEO of Uber visited Pittsburgh in order to hire a plenty of specialists in autonomous vehicles design from the Carnegie Mellon University’s robotics department, which is known to be the alma mater for famous experts in the field like the founder of Google Car project Sebastian Thrun or the former director of the project Chris Urmson.
By 2016 the company hired dozens of engineers, robotics experts, and auto mechanics to develop its own self-driving car and to replace millions of human drivers of its taxis around the world with robots as soon as possible.
In August 2016 the company announced a transaction to acquire Otto start-up which had been attempting to create a self-driving truck since the start of the year. The deal allowed Uber to join up with a large 90+ team of experts in the segment including the founders Anthony Levandowski and Lior Ron which used to hold high-ranked positions in Google. Mr Levandowski was going to head Uber’s self-driving vehicle department, the company also said it planned to open a number of additional R&D centers in the US.
Also in August 2016 Swedish luxury carmaker Volvo and Uber released the start of their strategic cooperation with the investment of USD300 mn in the joint project to create an autonomous vehicle by 2021. In early fall 2016 Uber allowed its customers to order self-driving Volvo XC90 EVs in the downtown of Pittsburgh supervised by human drivers.