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Pittsburgh Mayor: City, Self-Driving Vehicle Industry To Work Hand-In-Hand

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said at a Monday morning news conference that the city and the self-driving vehicle industry are planning to work hand-in-hand.

The mayor, officials from the city's Department of Mobility and Performance, and autonomous vehicle industry representatives were present at the announcement, which was held at 10 a.m. at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

"What we want to be able to do is work hand-in-hand with the autonomous vehicle industry, to create a leading city once again," said Mayor Peduto.

WATCH: Mayor Peduto's News Conference --

At the news conference, Mayor Peduto signed an executive order called Pittsburgh Principles, which will focus on the safe testing of self-driving vehicles in Pittsburgh. The order is the first of its kind to be issued by any city worldwide.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

"We are poised now as one of just a handful of cities around the world that are recognized as the leaders in a brand-new industry of autonomous vehicles. But it isn't a new industry," said Mayor Peduto. "It is an industry that Carnegie Mellon has been working at for over 20 years, but what has happened with the investment of the companies that are represented here is that the work that has been done for 20 years has been amplified to a global basis."

There are four components in the executive order Mayor Bill Peduto signed:

1) Designating a single point of contact which is the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure.
2) Setting guidelines when it comes to testing self-driving vehicles in the city.
3) Instructing partners to respect those guidelines.
4) Advancing policies as technologies continue to emerge, and reporting to the public on progress made and lessons learned.

The five entities currently developing self-driving vehicles right here in Pittsburgh are: Aptiv, Argo AI, Aurora Innovation, Carnegie Mellon University and Uber.

"There was a lot of give and take from all sides, proprietary interest of industry, requests of what would be expected in return for use of public right away, and it worked out in the end that everybody came together and realized we had gotten to a point where this will be basically the foundation in which to build it from," Mayor Peduto said.

The executive order makes the Department of Mobility and Performance the principal point of contact between the city and autonomous vehicle companies. The department will also be responsible for both developing guidelines for testing and reporting back to the public at least annually on progress in testing and policy development.

Mayor Peduto has been planning to make an announcement since December, that's when Uber resumed autonomous vehicle testing on local streets thanks to a special clearance from PennDOT.

Testing was suspended last March when a pedestrian was struck and killed by an Uber self-driving vehicles in Arizona.

Back in December, Mayor Peduto said resuming the test was a balancing act between public safety and innovation.

He added that testing would occur only in the Strip District, automated vehicles would not exceed 25 miles per hours, testing would happen in the daylight only, all vehicles would be clearly identified, and all vehicles would have two safety associates in the car.

Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.


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