Uber Advanced Technologies Group has announced plans to expand into Dallas, Texas, building upon its existing presence in Toronto, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco. The company will start gathering data in the city in early November, the company revealed in a statement today, and it’ll be kicking things off with manually-driven cars. The cars will be driven on the city’s downtown streets.
The company announced its plan in a Medium post on Tuesday, explaining that the work it has planned for this fall will involve driving vehicles that are under the control of a specially trained vehicle operator at all times. The company refers to the work as manual data collection, something that will be used to create high-definition maps for Uber’s self-driving system.
In addition, the company will capture what it considers ‘everyday scenarios’ that’ll later be recreated as simulations and in the company’s test track. This work will also give Uber the ability to increasingly refine its expansion methodology, it said in its Medium post.
Uber stresses that its manual data collection is the first step in its overall development process — the company says it is ‘key’ to validating how it approaches expansion. Uber says it may not decide to test its self-driving system in Dallas right away following its manual data collection, though it is a possibility.
The news follows a fatal crash in March 2018 that involved an Uber autonomous vehicle striking a pedestrian as she crossed the road. The company temporarily terminated its self-driving testing program, slowly resuming its work months later in Pittsburgh on a closed loop.