Uber is establishing a research hub in Toronto, Ontario, led by Raquel Urtasun, a University of Toronto computer science professor, and focused on the development of its autonomous car technology, reports Metro News.
Uber will employ Urtasun to develop the algorithms that will enable vehicles to effectively use the data gathered by their myriad sensors and cameras. Furthermore, Urtasun has a mandate to find solutions that render autonomous car technologies more affordable and efficient.
The California-based technology company says it plans to hire dozens of researchers to its Toronto hub, which will be its third tech hub devoted to the development of autonomous cars, and its first launched outside of the U.S.
“Toronto has emerged as an important hub of artificial intelligence research, which is critical to the future of transportation,” wrote Travis Kalanick, Uber CEO, in a blog post.
Urtasun is well-established in her field, having been awarded the E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada; holding a Canada Research Chair in machine learning and computer vision; and being one of the Vector Institute’s founding members.
The Vector Institute, which launched in Toronto early March, is an organization focused solely on artificial intelligence development; it was established with public and private investment, including from tech giants Google and Nvidia.
“Toronto and Canada for the past two decades has been at the forefront of AI, and that’s the expertise we’re bringing to Uber,” said Urtasun.
It’s not clear if or how soon we could see autonomous cars piloting themselves around Toronto streets sans drivers, but it’s an eventuality we’re likely to witness in the coming months or years, given Ontario is already on board to allow self-driving vehicles on public roads as long as they’re attended to by a human driver situated in the driver’s seat.
(Metro News with photo via Uber)