Uber is taking its autonomous vehicle project seriously with plans to set up shop in Detroit.
Sherif Marakby, Uber’s vice president of global vehicle programs, on Monday announced that the ride-hailing company will be opening a facility in the Detroit area. The objective is to work closely with automotive suppliers and automakers.
“The facility in Detroit is collaborating with the Tier 1s … because we are not going to be designing our own hardware,” Marakby told Automotive News during an event hosted today by Society of Automotive Engineers in the Detroit area.
Uber will also talk to automakers in the area about possibly developing and modifying its autonomous fleet, Marakby said.
The office location hasn’t been haven’t been secured yet. The Detroit area could become another testing ground for Uber’s autonomous hailing service, similar to Pittsburgh.
“We’re working with the state,” Marakby said. “We’re very optimistic.”
Last week, Uber launched its self-driving car ride-hailing test program with Ford Fusion Hybrids, and which will soon have Volvo XC90 plug-in hybrid SUVs added to the fleet. The company will be expanding the fleet to 100 vehicles by December.
The program in Pittsburgh has started to generate feedback from users. Issues that have come up include how autonomous vehicles operate as a service, how long it takes for passengers to enter and exit a vehicle, and how riders interact with the technology, Marakby said.