Uber sponsors self-driving research group in Toronto

The group will focus on integrating artificial intelligence and transportation

Rideshare giant Uber is sponsoring a new self-driving research group in Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District, which will be lead by University of Toronto professor Raquel Urtasun, a leading researcher in machine perception and artificial intelligence (AI).

The research group is the first that Uber has launched outside of the U.S., and will be the third branch of the company’s Advanced Technologies Group. Uber, like many tech companies, believes the integration of AI and transportation will generate billions in revenue, changing the complexion of the transportation industry.

Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick made the announcement via blog post on Monday. “With support from the Ontario and federal governments, Toronto has emerged as an important hub of artificial intelligence research, which is critical to the future of transportation. Self-driving technology promises to make our roads safer, our environment healthier and our cities more livable,” he says.

The launch of the Toronto-based team means the creation of dozens of jobs for researchers, according to Kalanick who says Uber can leverage the Toronto-Waterloo tech talent pool to fill those roles. The two other branches of the Advanced Technologies Group are located in Pittsburgh, Pa. and San Francisco, Calif.

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