The question posed to Phil Koopman, a robotics professor at Carnegie Mellon University, was stark. “Where were you when you heard about Elaine Herzberg?”
He had a fitting answer: He was teaching a software safety class when one of his students raised a hand as the news showed up on their phone that a self-driving Uber vehicle had struck and killed a pedestrian…
Thanks in part to the work of local researchers like Koopman, Pittsburgh now is one of the capitals of the nascent AV industry, and the city has a big stake in what happens next. In a new oversight action plan unveiled last week, PennDOT has tasked Koopman’s safety team at the National Robotics Engineering Center, an operating unit within Carnegie Mellon University, to advise an autonomous vehicle task force.