DETROIT -- Ride-hailing company Uber is preparing to plant roots in Detroit to collaborate with top suppliers and automakers.
At an event hosted today by Society of Automotive Engineers in suburban Detroit, Uber’s vice president of global vehicle programs Sherif Marakby said the company is planning on opening a facility in the Detroit area. The news follows Uber’s launch of an autonomous vehicle ride-hailing program in Pittsburgh last week.
“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, adding that Uber will also look to work with automakers in the area to develop and modify its autonomous fleet.
The exact location and size of the facility have yet to be determined. The Detroit area, like Pittsburgh, could also become a testing ground for Uber’s self-driving hailing service.
“We’re working with the state,” Marakby said. “We’re very optimistic.”
The program in Pittsburgh, which launched last week, has started to generate feedback on how autonomous vehicles operate as a service, from how long it takes for passengers to enter and exit a vehicle to how the interact with the technology, Marakby said. Uber plans to expand the current fleet to 100 vehicles by December.