Yes, Uber has cars driving around Austin, mapping the city.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean the ride-hailing service is coming back here anytime soon, the company said this week.
The cars – which are souped-up Ford Fusion hybrids that have been seen around town in recent days – aren’t self-driving, according to Uber. Each has a real, living, breathing human driver behind the wheel.
Uber’s Pittsburgh, Pa.-based Advanced Technologies Center is behind the effort. The goal is to collect information needed as Uber continues to conduct research on self-driving cars, the company said.
(Google, as you might recall, has been testing its fleet of self-driving cars here in Austin, as well.)
Uber and Lyft both stopped offering ride-hailing services in the city of Austin after losing a contentious election this year that sought to repeal a city ordinance requiring drivers to get fingerprinted.
Uber and Lyft – and their backers – spent about $10 million on advertising during the failed campaign.
Both companies are still serving other areas outside of Austin, and the Uber Eats service – deliveries of food from well-known area restaurants – continues inside the city limits.
News on Open Source is free and unlimited. Access to the rest of 512tech.com comes with an American-Statesman digital subscription, which also includes myStatesman.com and the ePaper edition. Subscribe at statesman.com/subscribe.