Autonomous Cars

Doug Brendel / Heinz History Center

Lewis Marascalco remembers the buzz he and his fellow engineers felt while they were working on a futuristic transportation system everyone was calling “Skybus.

Allyson Ruggieri / 90.5 WESA

The head of Pittsburgh's Department of Mobility and Infrastructure has ambitious goals for 2018.

Karina Ricks wants to improve the city's street design and increase overall liveability next year to make Pittsburgh a safe place to live, work and walk. 

"The priorities are really to work toward what we call a 'vision zero plan,'" Ricks said. "We want to achieve zero traffic-related injuries or fatalities on our public streets, and that begins with making our streets much safer for all users."

Allyson Ruggieri / 90.5 WESA

New challenges have arisen around transportation and infrastructure in the last decade, particularly climate change and innovations in technology, according to Department of Conservation and Natural Resources secretary Cindy Adams Dunn and state Transportation secretary Leslie Richards. 

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

The San Francisco Chronicle published an article in July detailing why the Bay Area is the new king in self-driving automotive technology.

Vadim Ghirda / AP

Pittsburgh-based RE2 Robotics penned a contract this week with the U.S. Air Force to create robotic pilots for military planes.

Margaret Sun / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has been a big booster of ride-share giant Uber — but now he's calling on the San Francisco-based firm to "fight for more than profit" if it wants to remain a good corporate citizen.

Peduto wants Uber to agree to a memorandum of understanding to do business the "Pittsburgh way" which, he says, includes fair treatment of workers.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

A Bike Pittsburgh survey from earlier this month found that about half of local cyclists approve of self-driving cars on city streets.

The advocacy group launched the survey in an effort to find out how cyclists and pedestrians felt about the driverless technology and about 800 people weighed in.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

A new survey published by AAA finds Americans are not yet ready to fully trust self-driving cars.

The study reports that 54 percent of drivers surveyed felt less safe sharing the road with autonomous vehicles and 78 percent would be afraid to ride in an autonomous car.

However, drivers are interested in some of the innovations used by autonomous cars -- more than half said they'd like to have autonomous technology in their next car. 

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

The bike and pedestrian advocacy group Bike Pittsburgh is trying to gain a better understanding of how the growing number of self-driving cars are interacting with local cyclists and walkers.

“We do see real potential safety benefits from removing humans from the operation of cars,” said Bike Pittsburgh spokeswoman Alex Shewczyk. “However, we don’t appreciate being guinea pigs for this experiment, so we just want to make sure that everything is safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.”

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

 

Carnegie Mellon University will receive $14 million in federal funding to develop innovations in smart transportation, research and education, the school announced Tuesday.

Harrisburg Shares In Autonomous Vehicle Testing Excitement

Sep 30, 2016
Commonwealth Media Services

Driverless vehicle technology has made its way to the state Capitol, complete with first-time passengers.

In Pennsylvania an autonomous vehicle went on display outside Pittsburgh for the first time since testing began.

Researchers made their way to the city of Harrisburg, with Mayor Eric Papenfuse among the first people take a ride.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

The sight was striking, the aesthetic futuristic. 

On the roofs of 14 self-driving Ford Fusions idling outside Uber's Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh, 14 small cylindrical sensory devices spun in unison, each with 64 channels of laser beams collecting 1.4 million distance measurements per second.

Uber / uber.com

Imagine it’s the future and you’re riding down the road in your autonomous vehicle when suddenly it starts to downpour. Your vehicle wakes you up, says they don’t feel comfortable driving in the conditions and hand you the wheel. That responsible robotic action is one of the thoughts behind a recent workshop that examined how engineers can create safe and controlled artificial intelligence technologies. William Scherlis, director of the Institute for Software Research in Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science joins us to talk about the concept and the dialogue at the workshop.

Self-Driving Cars Are Coming, But They’re Not Ready For Pittsburgh Yet

Mar 4, 2016
Anita DuFalla / PublicSource

Ninety percent of car crashes are preventable.

As it stands, about 30,000 people die in car crashes every year in the United States, said Mark Kopko of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation [PennDOT]. “If you could reduce that by 90 percent, that’s huge.”

Autonomous cars have the capacity to do that.

In Allegheny County, that could mean a vast reduction in the roughly 12,000 crashes in 2014 — especially of those attributed to driver error, like drunk or distracted driving and speeding.

Mayor Bill Peduto recently traveled to DC for the National League of Cities and while there, he had a chance to meet with the President for two minutes. The Mayor told 90.5 WESA’s Essential Pittsburgh Host, Paul Guggenheimer, he wanted to make those minutes count, so he brought up two ideas for the city: autonomous cars, and localized energy.

Peduto told the President that Pittsburgh is the city for the autonomous car. With CMU’s research facilities, Uber’s dedication to developing the car, and Bombardier’s vehicle plant, Pittsburgh is the place to develop the technology.