Ed. Note: We spoke about the Ford self driving tests here.
“Uber Advanced Technologies Group (ATG) announced today it will begin data collection for self-driving vehicles on Washington, D.C. roads beginning Friday, January 24th. ATG self-driving vehicles – operated by two human drivers, better known as Mission Specialists – will collect road data to support the development of Uber’s self-driving vehicle technology. The announcement was made today by Uber ATG’s CEO Eric Meyhofer at the Washington Auto Show.
“We believe self-driving technology has the potential to drive safer streets, cost-effective rides, and increased access,” said Eric Meyhofer, Uber ATG CEO. “At Uber, we feel privileged to be taking our first step towards bringing self-driving technology to life in our nation’s capital.”
Bringing ATG’s self-driving technology to a new city starts with manual driving, meaning the vehicle’s autonomy system is not engaged. During manual driving, Uber will collect sensor data using a top-mounted sensor wing equipped with cameras and a spinning LiDAR. The data will be used to build high-definition maps that serve as the foundation for the self-driving system, plan for virtual simulation and test track testing scenarios, and inform next steps in our nation’s capital. Uber remains committed to ensuring that every mile driven on public roads contributes to the safe and meaningful development work already underway at Uber ATG.
During this data collection process, all vehicles will be driven manually by a Mission Specialist – a specially-trained safety driver – who will always stay behind the wheel and maintain full control of the vehicle. A second Mission Specialist will always be in the right seat.
Uber’s self-driving technology efforts have raised over $1 billion in funding since 2015 to help design and develop fully autonomous vehicles. Since then, Uber has expanded self-driving technology mapping and data collection to four other cities, including Dallas, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Toronto.