AVT Expo Day 1: Uber ATG details its test-driven AV development program

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The Autonomous Test & Development Symposium, hosted at the Autonomous Vehicle Technology Expo 2019, got off to a great start with an opening keynote from Amir Shah, Senior systems engineer at Uber ATG about the ridesharing giant’s test-driven AV development.

He kicked off his presentation with some motivation for everyone at the event who is trying to make AVs a reality: “The most interesting fact I’ve come across recently is that access to transit is really the number one factor in escaping the cycle of poverty. It’s more directly correlated than socio-economic status, than crime rates, than your school quality, and than your family structure”.

He also highlighted why Uber is well placed, as a ridesharing company, to start evaluating the vehicles in the real world. “We start by defining a small operational domain, precisely, with all of the requirements for handling that infrastructure in that domain, and the tests and interactions that we will find there. This allows us to be very judicious in choosing where to deploy our self-driving vehicles […] because we are a ride-hailing platform with a fallback network of human drivers. Once we have specified our operational domain, we can build some tests around it.”

After going into further detail on the interplay between simulation, controlled testing and real-world testing, Shah wrapped up with some thoughts on industry collaboration: “We think that industry collaboration is going to be really important. No one company can say, ‘yes, I’ve done it’. There needs to be some sort of collaboration between our private industry, government industry, etc. We’re really looking forward to that. And that is where we think that conferences like this can really help.

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