On Tuesday, Uber’s Advantaged Technologies Group has announced that it will be testing its self-driving vehicles in Dallas, Texas. However, we can’t expect the cars in fully autonomous mode on the streets just yet, though.
Initially, they will only be allowed in manual mode, in which Uber collects data from vehicles with human drivers. This data will help it build the high-definition maps used for its self-driving system. And the first vehicles will roll out in early November.
This is Uber’s first major expansion in its self-driving car division since a crash that killed a woman in Tempe last year, in Arizona. The trips will also enable Uber’s autonomous-car team to record everyday scenarios from the street that can then be recreated in simulation as well as on its test track.
“Dallas also offers us the opportunity to explore a different type of road network for our self-driving technology,” the company wrote in a blog post. “The city’s modern infrastructure, unique traffic patterns, road characteristics, and climate will offer new information that can inform our ongoing engineering efforts.”
If it is confident enough to test real self-driving cars, it aims to work closely with both city- and state-level officials. If you’re going to see truly self-driving Uber cars on Dallas streets, it likely won’t happen until the company is virtually convinced that its machines can handle dangerous situations.