Feb 25, 2016 08:22 AM EST
Uber Technologies, the ride sharing company, has announced on Tuesday planning to expand its Pittsburgh operations through opening an Advanced Technologies Center. The proposed new tech center will be used to test self driving cars. Worth mentioning that Uber's autonomous vehicle research operations are headquartered in Pittsburgh.
The taxi service provider is planning to renovate an old locomotive roundhouse at the former LTV Coke Works Site in Hezlewood. The roundhouse will home to temporary test roadways for self-driving cars. The company will develop temporary roadways to test autonomous cars, housing and park spaces, as part of its expansion, reports The Verge citing company officials while addressing a community meeting.
Uber officials plan to break ground in the next few months on another research facility at the 178-acre site of Almono. Uber has been the first tenant for the former mill site, acquired by Regional Industrial Development Corp. and four foundations 14 years ago. The organizations have made expenditure of around $60 million to prepare the site for development, reports St. Louis Post.
However, officials of the ride sharing company have made it clear that they also plan to work closely with community members to create local jobs. The plan also includes working with local contractors and trying to find local crews during construction. The border of the Almono site near Tecumseh Street will be left as a community area, featuring local artwork and microhabitats, according to a report published in Pittsburgh Business Times.
This appears as the first major news from Uber since poaching robotics engineers from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in early 2015. Uber has so far snatched 50 researchers from CMU in a bid to exhibit its seriousness towards self driving technology.
Some automakers predict 2020 as the probable launching period for their autonomous vehicle. But Uber has kept its plan secret unlike Apple and other heavy hitters mulling autonomous driving technology.
The San Francisco based ride sharing company plans to initiate construction at the site in about four to six months employing more than 20 workers. Several residents of Pittsburgh have welcomed Uber predicting the company's move will help attract more businesses and jobs to the area. However, some feared that the move won't benefit the Hazelwood neighborhood or the mill adjoining areas.
Pittsburgh is the headquarters of Uber's autonomous vehicle research operations. Now the ride sharing company is planning to expand its Pittsburg operations through opening a test drive site for its self-driven cars in Hazelwood. Uber officials expect to initiate construction works in next four to six months.
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