Uber has self-driving trials scheduled in Dallas, Texas in a couple of months. The company on Tuesday stated that it has begun data collection for the endeavour.
"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 every day," the company stated in a post on online publishing platform, Medium.
On Tuesday, the company started trials with human drivers in Dallas. The test vehicles will collect mapping data and capture driving data which can then be run in simulation mode.
However, if anyone believed that this may mean that self-driving is being extended to Dallas, they would be wrong.
"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," the company further stated.
Self-driving cars have been under development for long, but the speed of progress has been hit by certain roadblocks. Legislation on self-driving has been slow in pace, even though countries like Germany have already started forming laws governing the technology. More importantly, accidents involving self-driven cars have raised safety concerns. One biker was killed by an Uber self-driving car with a human driver at the wheel who was busy on his phone in March 2018 in Tempe, Arizona.
The company had to ground its fleet and temporarily shut down the program due to this setback. The company was declared innocent of any negligence which caused the accident by local authorities. However, the US National Transport Safety Board is still looking into the matter.
The programme is again picking up pace, and Uber plans to start testing its third-generation self-driving vehicles by next year.