To catch up, Uber spent $680 million — roughly 1 percent of the company’s value — to buy Otto and its team of robotics veterans. Based in San Francisco, Uber has also poured millions of dollars into hiring hundreds of employees and spent more than 18 months getting the Advanced Technologies Center here in Pittsburgh, the home of its self-driving initiative, off the ground.
One lingering question over the effort is how driverless cars affect Uber’s business model. Much of the company’s success has been based on the premise that people could share their idle cars with the public by driving during their spare time. A self-driving car obviates the need for human drivers, ...
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