Uber Technologies will begin the process of mapping the streets in Downtown Dallas this fall in preparation for a project that could eventually feature self-driving cars patrolling through the city center.
Dallas, which an Uber executive calls an “exceptional partner”, is the latest city where the ride-sharing company will feature its autonomous vehicle technology.
Beginning in November, the Uber Advanced Technologies Group will put two, custom-designed Volvo SUVs on the streets – with drivers at the wheel – and begin the process of mapping the streets and factoring in all of the variables that come with driving in a major urban center – traffic, pedestrians, cyclists, electric scooters and more.
The company, which recently announced a multimillion dollar, massive corporate expansion to Dallas that is expected to create upwards of 3,000 jobs, will then take the information it gleans from those test runs and apply it to a simulation system, where it can further test the limits of its self-driving vehicle technology.
“Dallas also offers us the opportunity to explore a different type of road network for our self-driving technology. The city’s modern infrastructure, unique traffic patterns, road characteristics, and climate will offer new information that can inform our ongoing engineering efforts,” noted Austin Geidt, Head of Uber ATG Strategy, in a blog post titled ‘Hello, Texas!’.
Uber has not yet decided when, or if, it will move its testing to the level where the company feels comfortable to deploy a fully driverless vehicle.
“Should we look to operate our vehicles autonomously after the initial data collection phase is complete, we’ll work closely with stakeholders at both the local and state level,” Geidt wrote. “In the meantime, we are eager to kick-off public engagement with the Dallas community, as well as key organizations and stakeholders, to both educate and generate awareness for efforts that will soon be underway in Dallas.”
The company will hold a town hall Tuesday at its office at 2550 Pacific Ave. in Dallas. To register for the event, click here.