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Uber’s self-driving Volvos hit Pittsburgh streets

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Ardavan Bidgoli
One of Uber's self-driving Volvos was spotted in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood.

Uber has rolled out its latest fleet of self-driving cars on Pittsburgh’s streets.

A self-driving Volvo was spotted last week in Oakland.

Uber said it is “actively testing” the Volvos as part of its self-driving pilot in Pittsburgh. The company would not say how many Volvos are on the road here or how long they have been testing them.

In September, Uber debuted a fleet of self-driving Ford Fusions in Pittsburgh. It announced at the time that the company would put a fleet of 100 self-driving Volvo XC90s on the road by the end of the year.

Uber riders who opt in to the company’s pilot can ride in a self-driving car through Downtown and surrounding neighborhoods. The autonomous rides are free.

Uber’s pilot of self-driving cars hasn’t been without a few bumps and scratches. The company was looking into an Oct. 18 crash Downtown in which it appeared another car rear-ended a self-driving Uber. In September, reports surfaced of a self-driving Uber driving the wrong way on a street in Oakland and another on the side of a road after a minor fender bender.

The tech website The Verge first published photos of the Volvo from Ardavan Bidgoli, a Carnegie Mellon University student. Bidgoli shared those images with the Tribune-Review.

Uber announced a $300 million partnership with Volvo in August.

The self-driving Volvos have a spinning LIDAR rig mounted to their roofs much like the autonomous Ford Fusions. The rooftop camera rig on the Volvo is much smaller than on the Fusions. Uber was able to integrate autonomous driving features into the Volvos ­— such as a camera hidden in the front emblem — as opposed to having to bolt everything like it did on the Fusions, employees said in September.

A Volvo, albeit a much larger one than the XC90, was at the center of another Uber milestone last week. A self-driving Volvo semi-truck and trailer delivered 50,000 cans of Budweiser beer from Fort Collins, Colo., to Colorado Springs, Colo. The truck was outfitted with technology developed by Otto, a self-driving truck company Uber acquired this year.

Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7986 or [email protected]

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