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Uber starts mapping Dallas roads to aid its self-driving efforts

Actual driverless tests could be a long way off.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
September 17, 2019
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Uber is still testing self-driving cars in a very limited fashion, but that isn't stopping it from expanding its efforts to a new city. The ridesharing firm has unveiled plans to map Dallas streets and lay the groundwork for self-driving technology in the city. The mapping cars will be human-driven -- they're just there to record "everyday scenarios" that Uber can reproduce in simulations and on a closed test track. The first vehicles will roll out in early November.

The company was quick to caution that this might not be the immediate precursor to self-driving vehicles. Uber wants any data gathering to contribute "meaningfully" to autonomous driving work, the company's Austin Geidt said. If it is confident enough to test real self-driving cars, it aims to "work closely" with both city- and state-level officials.

That kind of progress is far from certain. Uber remains cautious following the fatal collision in 2018, and has yet to resume testing on the level seen in Arizona before the incident. If you're going to see truly self-driving Uber cars on Dallas streets, it likely won't happen until the company is virtually certain that its machines can handle dangerous situations.

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