Starting in November, Uber plans to map and collect data about downtown Dallas streets, using manually driven Volvo SUVs equipped with self-driving technology. The company will run computer simulations of those routes and test them on a track in Pittsburgh, where its Advanced Technologies Group is based.
As early as 2020, Uber’s SUVs could drive themselves around parts of Dallas — albeit with humans on board for backup, said Eric Meyhofer, CEO of Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group. He also said Uber could bring self-driving cars to the market in 2021 or 2022.
Uber plans to hire or relocate 400 people to Dallas by the end of the year and grow to at least 3,000, making it the company’s second-largest hub.
With self-driving cars, Meyhofer said, getting around cities will be better, cheaper and safer. But he said the process will be gradual: Uber will launch its self-driving cars in parts of cities, using a mix of human drivers and driverless cars.
“It’s not an event where you wake up one day and it’s ‘The Jetsons’ and everything is flying and driving itself,” he said.
Uber is taking special safety measures: It will only test cars during the day, in good weather and in 25-mph or slower zones.