Uber Advanced Technologies Group recently announced the company will be bringing its fleet of self-driving cars to Washington D.C. roads for data collection beginning Jan. 24.
Uber first launched in the nation's capital in late 2011. Since then, the company has expanded into new modes like shared POOL rides, wheelchair accessible options, JUMP e-bikes and dockless scooters, and linking Uber users with public transit to help them access various transportation modes.
According to a Medium post from Danielle Burr, Head of Uber Federal Affairs, the automated vehicles that will be riding down the streets of D.C. will be in manual driving mode—meaning a specially trained vehicle operator will maintain control of the vehicle at all times.
Burr also said the company is using a phased approach to develop and deploy the autonomous vehicles, taking the necessary steps to operate safely in every city. Manual data collection is the first step in Uber's development process and part of how the company plans to validate its self-driving expansion approach.
This manual data collection allows Uber to develop high-definition maps; capture scenarios that might be different from city to city to simulate and incorporate into on-track testing; and further refine its expansion methodology, which involves identifying key characteristics within an operational domain in a new city, and then running that data through an autonomy system in simulation and on a test track to verify that Uber's self-driving system performs as intended before it drives on the road, Burr said.
The company hopes that this first round of manually driven data collection will lay the foundation for testing its vehicles in self-driving mode in the District of Columbia.
SOURCE: Uber ATG via Medium