It's no secret that Uber has big plans for autonomous driving in its fleets in the future.
Some of you know Uber as the company that drives you home when you've had a few too many drinks on a Friday night, or that brings you food when you're just too lazy to turn on the oven. The company has far more ambitious plans though, including in the field of autonomous driving. Further proof of that is in its decision to open a new branch of its Advanced Technologies Group in Toronto – the first outside of the U.S.
Uber made the announcement in a press release this week, introducing University of Toronto associate professor Raquel Urtasun as the person to lead the new Toronto-based branch. Urtasun is described by Uber as "one of the world’s leading researchers in the fields of machine perception and artificial intelligence."
Simply put, Urtasun specializes in developing software that lets self-driving cars "see" objects on the road. It's no secret that Uber has big plans for autonomous driving in its fleets in the future, and having the Toronto branch join the San Francisco and Pittsburgh Advanced Technologies Group offices only pushes the agenda further.
The company doesn't look to be done with its Canadian hiring, either. The company says it hopes "to draw from the region's impressive talent pool as we grow, helping the dozens of researchers we plan to hire stay connected to the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor." It also sponsored the Vector Institute, which is an independent, non-profit research institution based in Toronto, that's focused on making Canada a leader in the field artificial intelligence.
Uber has partnered with automakers in recent months as it begins autonomous driving trials in the U.S., including receiving XC90 SUVs from Volvo, which are outfitted with sensors and hardware provided by Uber. The company has had its share of problems, but its self-driving future soldiers on.
The idea of self-driving vehicles could make some car aficionados nervous – who wants to let a machine have all the fun of driving a Dodge Challenger Demon? It's an exciting prospect nonetheless. If the thought of AI driving you around after you've had a few too many shots of tequila interests you, remember – Uber is hiring!