Uber to Host First Town Hall Meeting on Self-Driving Technology at Its Own ‘HQ2’

In Industry Newsby Staff

Dallas Could Join San Francisco, Toronto as Testing Grounds for Automated Vehicles

Ride-hailing company Uber plans to host its first town hall meeting this week at its new Dallas regional hub that company officials are referring to as HQ2, a moniker made popular by online retailer Amazon that stands for second headquarters. At issue: questions about Uber testing its self-driving technology in the area.

The town hall meeting, led by Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group CEO Eric Meyhofer, is scheduled for Tuesday with up to 200 members of the community who have been invited to ask questions. The meeting is scheduled ahead of San Francisco-based Uber putting two self-driving cars on Dallas roadways in November to begin collecting data on Dallas’ traffic patterns.

If all goes well, Dallas could join San Francisco and Toronto as a tier of cities that Uber tests its self-driving technology. Uber already has self-driving cars in operation in Pittsburgh.

Uber is working toward building a fleet of self-driving or automated vehicles as part of its services. (Uber)

By having the town hall meeting at “the new HQ2 facility in Deep Ellum,” at 2550 Pacific Ave., it shows the supportive partnership between Uber and the Dallas community, said Sarah Abboud, communications manager for Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group.

“We want to get a lay of the land and see what various scenarios play out on the road so we can make an informed decision,” Abboud said in an interview. “No one should expect a massive self-driving team. This is being done more so to understand the scenarios an average driver encounters in Dallas.”

Last month, Uber began moving employees into a portion of the initial phase of its regional hub in Deep Ellum, a neighborhood just east of downtown Dallas. At full build-out, Uber expects to house its regional hub in 618,000 square feet of space, which includes the development of a new building leased exclusively to the company.

Dallas and the state of Texas have offered Uber about $36 million in various economic incentives to locate its regional hub within the city limits.

Most concerns related to self-driving or autonomous vehicles tend to be tied to how the technology works to ensure safety, Abboud said. But that’s one of the reasons why Uber is “pulling back the curtain” on the process, she said.

“We want to break down the barriers and have similar or other creative avenues for conversations we hope will continue in 2020 and beyond,” she added.

Information Obtained by Costar. The original article is found here.