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Allegheny

Uber lays off self-driving car safety drivers in Pittsburgh

Aaron Aupperlee
| Wednesday, July 11, 2018, 7:36 p.m.
Uber’s self-driving car fleet on display in front of its Lawrenceville headquarters.
Uber’s self-driving car fleet on display in front of its Lawrenceville headquarters.

Uber laid off its team of self-driving car safety drivers in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, the company confirmed.

The about 100 vehicle operators were told their jobs had been terminated during a meeting Wednesday, according to reporting from Quartz.

Uber also laid off its vehicle operators in San Francisco.

The laid of vehicle operators will be able to apply for other roles in company, both inside and outside its self-driving operations. The safety drivers will have first priority at applying for a new position created within its self-driving operations, a company spokeswoman told the Tribune-Review on Wednesday.

Uber created the role of “mission specialist” for advanced vehicle operators. Mission specialists will handle testing on the road and on its test track in Hazelwood. The company will have about 55 mission specialists.

“Our team remains committed to building safe self-driving technology, and we look forward to returning to public roads in the coming months,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

Uber has said it hopes to restart its testing of self-driving cars in Pittsburgh first and later in San Francisco. The company grounded its fleets of self-driving cars in Pittsburgh, Toronto, San Francisco and Arizona after a crash in March killed a woman walking her bike across a Tempe, Arizona street. The company shut down its Arizona operation.

Uber is in the process of an exhaustive safety review. The company has said it will not restart testing operations in Pittsburgh until that review is completed and they have spoken with city and state officials.

Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Aaron at 412-336-8448, aaupperlee@tribweb.com or via Twitter @tinynotebook.

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