Today Uber announced a $300 million deal with Volvo to co-develop self-driving cars, the pending launch of a self-driving car service in Pittsburgh, and the acquisition of Otto, a startup founded by former Google employee’s that has been developing self-driving trucks.
Uber said it will purchase Volvo cars and install its own driverless control system for the specific needs of its ride-hailing service, which could launch this month in downtown Pittsburgh. Uber said 100 modified Volvo XC90s will be supervised by humans in the driver’s seat at the start.
But the acquisition of Otto might be even more important than Uber’s self-driving car service. Otto has an extremely talented team of engineers, and has been developing a self-driving kit that can be retrofitted into trucks that are already on the road.