Data collection beginning in downtown Dallas

By: Austin Geidt, Head of Uber ATG Strategy

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We’re on a mission to deliver safe self-driving technology to Uber riders around the world. Uber Advanced Technologies Group has already started this journey in Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Toronto. Today, we’re adding another city to that list 一 Dallas, TX.

The City of Dallas has been an exceptional partner to Uber as we continue to expand mobility options for our riders and economic opportunities for restaurants. Dallas users on our platform have many of Uber’s US-based offerings at their fingertips: shared rides, Uber Eats, JUMP scooters, Transit, Uber Freight, and more. 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.

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Starting in early November, we will begin manual driving 一 meaning a Mission Specialist (a specially trained vehicle operator) will maintain control of the vehicle at all times 一 in downtown Dallas, TX.

This manual data collection allows us to:

  • Develop high-definition maps, the foundational information layer for our self-driving system.
  • Capture everyday scenarios that we can then recreate in simulation and on our test track.
  • Further refine our expansion methodology, which involves identifying key characteristics within an operational domain in a new city, and then running that data through our autonomy system in simulation and on our test track to verify that our autonomy system, if it were on a road, would perform as intended.
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Manual data collection is the first step in our development process and key to validating our expansion approach. The data we collect will inform our next steps — we may not look to test our self-driving system in Dallas immediately following this first round of data gathering. While we are certainly excited by this possibility, we are also committed to ensuring that every mile we drive on public roads contributes meaningfully to our development work.

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. 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 Uber network is a powerful thing. It brings people closer to the things they need, and self-driving technology has the potential to create even more value to our users. In order to arrive at that future, we must approach building this technology thoughtfully and with a strong sense of responsibility to the communities where we operate, which our team is dedicated to doing everyday.

Dallas, we’ll see you in November!

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