Uber has followed in the steps of many car manufacturers and other service providers who have been testing self-driving car technologies for a few years now. As a next step, the ride-sharing service has recently been applying the technology to its own services.
Until now, most autonomous driving testing had been done in California. Uber is branching out and will for the first time send its technology north of the border, in Toronto. University of Toronto Professor Raquel Urtasun has been recruited by the American company for its new research and development department. Urtasun specialises in artificial intelligence and is also the co-founder of the Vector Institute that specialises in this field.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick declared that Urtasun has been mandated to build a team based out of Toronto. The team will work on taking the autonomous technology further, focusing on the perception of nearby objects, geolocation and cartography. Uber will also support the new Vector Institute’s activities with an investment of 5-million dollars.
Uber has been testing the autonomous driving technology aboard Ford and Volvo vehicles in San Francisco and in Pittsburgh. Users of the controversial service have randomly received rides of “driverless” cars – though a driver was seated in the vehicle as a backup. Similar methods will be used here in Canada and we should expect to see self-driving cars take the city by storm.