If and when self-driving vehicles become the norm, rideshare companies such as Lyft and Uber are going to be major players. Both companies have been running tests and pilot programs in many cities around the world. The latest place is the Unites States Capitol.
Uber has begun testing self-driving vehicles in Washington DC. It will be for mainly collecting data, and helping to develop high-definition maps. The company also hopes to capture scenarios that might be unique for a place like DC. They then plan to take that information and incorporate it into on-track testing.
‘Our hope is that this first round of manually driven data collection will lay the foundation for testing our vehicles in self-driving mode in Washington, DC. While we are excited about the possibilities, we remain committed to ensuring that every mile we drive on public roads contributes safe and meaningful learnings to inform our development work,” said Uber in a blog post.
Mission Specialist to Be Aboard Uber Driverless Vehicles
The company is also focusing on safety during testing as two human “mission specialists” will be on board. For the first round, the cars will be driven manually with a sensor on top that will collect data to build the high-definition maps, and identify different situations that may occur on the roads.
Uber hopes the data collected will improve safety and efficiency when self-driving ride-sharing becomes widely available in Washington DC. The company has run similar programs in places like in Dallas, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Toronto.