Uber Gets on Road to Self-Driving with Data Collection in DC

Uber Advanced Technologies Group has already started mapping Dallas, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Toronto. Now its adding another city to that list 一Washington DC.

Starting on January 24, Uber will bring its self-driving cars to District roads for data collection. Importantly, these cars will be in manual driving mode 一 meaning a Mission Specialist (a specially trained vehicle operator) will maintain control of the vehicle at all times.

Manual data collection is the first step the company’s development process and part of how it is validating its self-driving expansion approach. This manual data collection allows Uber to:

  • Develop high-definition maps, the foundational information layer for the self-driving system.
  • Capture scenarios that might be different from city to city to simulate and incorporate into on-track testing.
  • Further refine the expansion methodology, which involves identifying key characteristics within an operational domain in a new city, and then running that data through its autonomy system in simulation and on our test track to verify that our self-driving system performs as intended before it drives on the road.

“Our hope is that this first round of manually driven data collection will lay the foundation for testing our vehicles in self-driving mode in Washington, DC. While we are excited about the possibilities, we remain committed to ensuring that every mile we drive on public roads contributes safe and meaningful learnings to inform our development work,” wrote Danielle Burr, Head of Uber Federal Affairs in a Medium post.