Uber says it’s acquiring Otto, a venture working on self-driving trucks, and starting up an autonomous-vehicle experiment with Volvo in Pittsburgh.
The moves by the ride-share trailblazer, announced on Thursday, came just days after Ford laid out its plan to put autonomous ride-share vehicles on the road by 2021. Such moves signal that ride-sharing and ride-hailing will loom as a major frontier for automotive autonomy.
In a blog post, Uber CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick said that Otto’s co-founder, Anthony Levandowski, would lead the company’s self-driving efforts in the San Francisco Bay area as well as Pittsburgh. “If that sounds like a big deal — well, it is,” Kalanick said.