Pittsburgh autonomous vehicle companies issue report on local testing | TribLIVE.com

Pittsburgh autonomous vehicle companies issue report on local testing

Bob Bauder
In this Dec. 18, 2018, photo one of the test vehicles from Argo AI, Ford’s autonomous vehicle unit, navigates through the strip district near the company offices in Pittsburgh. Even the most optimistic experts say it will be 10 years before self-driving vehicles are everywhere, but others believe it will take decades. The biggest reasons are camera and laser sensors that can’t see through heavy snow or figure out where to go if lane lines are covered.

Five companies are currently testing 55 self-driving vehicles on Pittsburgh streets, according to the first in a series of reports mandated by Mayor Bill Peduto.

The five companies — Aptiv, Argo AI, Aurora, Carnegie Mellon University and Uber — employ a combined total of 1,300 people locally in connection with the testing. Test vehicles include the BMW 540i, Chrysler Pacifica PHEV, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Lincoln MKZ, Cadillac SRX and Volvo XC90.

Testing is ongoing in 32 of the city’s 90 neighborhoods and 22 suburbs with the greatest focus Pittsburgh’s Strip District and Lower Lawrenceville.

Each vehicle has two operators. They have been screened and trained on autonomous vehicles and their safety features.

“For the most part, on-road testing will only occur on weekdays (Monday to Friday) with occasional testing on weekends,” the report said. “Testing is anticipated during both daytime and nighttime. Testing will generally occur only during favorable weather conditions.”

Peduto’s order dubbed the “Pittsburgh Principles,” outlined guidelines companies must follow for the safe testing of self-driving cars. The five companies agreed in writing to follow the guidelines.

They do not include penalties for noncompliance.

Under the rules, companies must submit information about themselves, their fleets and employees, when and where they are testing and under what weather conditions. They must report how many miles they test on city streets each year, submit safety plans to the city and define how the public might benefit from testing.

Companies are required to submit a report every six months and the department must issue a public report on the industry each year.

“The information provided by the five testers in the City provide us with critical insight into the scale, location and conditions of testing and safety protocols,” said Karina Ricks, director of Pittsburgh’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-564-3080, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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