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The partnership will provide a forum for Uber technology leaders to work closely with CMU faculty, staff and students — both on campus and at its National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) — to do research and development, primarily in the areas of mapping and vehicle safety and autonomy technology.

'We are excited to join the community of Pittsburgh and partner with the experts at CMU, whose breadth and depth of technical expertise, particularly in robotics, are unmatched,' said Jeff Holden, chief product officer of Uber.

The agreement also will include funding from Uber for faculty chairs and graduate fellowships, recognizing and supporting Carnegie Mellon's world-renowned faculty and its efforts to attract the best and brightest graduate students.

We look forward to partnering with Uber as they build out the Advanced Technologies Center and to working together on real-world applications, which offer very interesting new challenges at the intersections of technology, mobility and human interactions.'

News

The partnership will provide a forum for Uber technology leaders to work closely with CMU faculty, staff and students — both on campus and at its National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) — to do research and development, primarily in the areas of mapping and vehicle safety and autonomy technology.

'We are excited to join the community of Pittsburgh and partner with the experts at CMU, whose breadth and depth of technical expertise, particularly in robotics, are unmatched,' said Jeff Holden, chief product officer of Uber.

The agreement also will include funding from Uber for faculty chairs and graduate fellowships, recognizing and supporting Carnegie Mellon's world-renowned faculty and its efforts to attract the best and brightest graduate students.

We look forward to partnering with Uber as they build out the Advanced Technologies Center and to working together on real-world applications, which offer very interesting new challenges at the intersections of technology, mobility and human interactions.'

How Uber built self-driving cars in Pittsburgh

A former vice president from Twitter heads software development.

An engineer who ran the back end of Duolingo's language learning app teaches autonomous cars to recognize what they see on Pittsburgh roads.

Uber's Advanced Technology Center has filled four buildings in the Strip District and a testing facility at the Almono development in Hazelwood with employees from technology giants, automotive powerhouses, Pittsburgh robotic startups, top universities, bars, restaurants and retails stores, a Tribune-Review analysis found.

Drew Bagnell, Senior Manager, Engineering To peek inside the secretive ATC, the Tribune-Review catalogued LinkedIn accounts of employees who reported that they work for the San Francisco-based ride sharing company's Pittsburgh operation.

The Trib sifted through more than 400 Uber employee profiles registered with the online networking service, excluding drivers and built a database of more than 300 people who reported working at the ATC, noting the name, job title, previous employers and education.

Raffi Krikorian, a former vice president of engineering at Twitter in charge of Twitter's platform and now the ATC's software director, started about a month after the center launched.

The city wasn't only a hotbed of academic robotics research — Uber quickly hired away 40 robotics scientists and researchers from Carnegie Mellon University — but it also had companies putting that research in the field.

About 13 percent of the employees at the ATC came from robotics companies, and about 10 percent hailed from Pittsburgh robotics companies such as 4Moms, RedZone Robotics, the National Robotics Engineering Center, Carnegie Robotics and others, according to the Trib's research.

A former software developer at Apple who worked on productivity apps is now at the ATC along with a former software engineer intern that worked on bugs in Facebook's Messenger app.

Daniel Culbertson, an economist in the job-posting search engine Indeed's research division, has studied hiring trends in autonomous car fields.

An engineer from Duolingo who ran the language learning app's infrastructure now works on machine learning for what Uber's robot cars see on the roads.

Krikorian said these employees have helped with automotive design, merging how a car works with autonomous technology and keeping Uber's cars functioning.

An attorney that handled connectivity issues for Ford ­­— safety, privacy, cyber security and others — is now senior counsel for Uber.

'If you think what the aerospace industry does,' Krikorian said, 'they are really are fundamentally concerned with, can we do sound engineering techniques and build something that is fault-tolerant, that is reliable, that you can control in the event of failure.'

'We need maps that are accurate to a centimeter, effectively, so we've been creating our own maps, so you can think of our map production people as this century's version of cartographers.'

Labeling engineers at the ATC examine hours of video and radar and laser data to identify traffic signals, pedestrians and bicyclists to train the computer.

These are the safety drivers behind the steering wheels of the self-driving cars and the person sitting in the passenger seat.

A study by Indeed, the online job classified search engine, showed the number of postings for autonomous car-related jobs increased seven-fold from 2014 to 2016.

'And as we transition to doing more production and stuff like that, the challenge for us will be, do we start up more R&D threads so that people can stay and do more R&D-like tinkering, or are we going to move to full production.'

May 2016: Uber gives a Tribune-Review reporter an exclusive ride in a self-driving Ford Fusion , publicly announcing for the first time that it's actively testing self-driving cars on the streets of Pittsburgh.

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