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Washington DC has become the fifth North American city where Uber is testing its self-driving technology. Starting on January 24, it will pilot self-driving cars to district roads for the purpose of data collection.

However, these cars will be in manual driving mode 一 meaning a specially trained vehicle operator will maintain control of the vehicle at all times.

The data collected from the pilot will allow Uber to capture scenarios that might be different from city to city to simulate and incorporate into on-track testing.

Danielle Burr, Head of Uber Federal Affairs, says: “We are using a phased approach to develop and deploy our self-driving vehicles, taking the necessary steps to operate safely in every city. Manual data collection is the first step in our development process and part of how we are validating our self-driving expansion approach.”

She adds: “We care about keeping everyone on the road safe — whether you’re in one of our self-driving cars or crossing the street in front of one. That’s why we believe in working closely with local stakeholders and city officials and engaging with the Washington, D.C. community every step of the way.”

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Uber Advanced Technologies Group is already testing self-driving cars in Dallas, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Toronto.

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