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Uber Aims to Open Research Hub for Autonomous Car Tech in Toronto

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【Summary】Uber has set its sights on the north as its new location for a research hub, which will be led by a computer science professor at the University of Toronto.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    May 14, 2017 9:00 AM PT
Uber Aims to Open Research Hub for Autonomous Car Tech in Toronto

Uber is focused on the future with plans to come out with flying cars and driverless automobiles. The ride-hailing company, like many others, is trying to test its driverless cars in California and, despite a few set backs, in Arizona as well. The majority of Uber's testing, researching, and development have taken place in the United States, but that's going to change soon with a new driverless hub in Toronto. 

Uber Expands In A New Direction

According to The Star, Uber is planning on opening a new research group solely devoted to self-driving technology in Toronto. The research hub will be the company's third in total and the first one that's located outside of the U.S. Uber's new Advanced Technologies Group will be led by Raquel Urtasun, reports The Star, a computer science professor at the University of Toronto. 

Urtasun, as the outlet claims, holds a Canada Research Chair in machine learning and computer vision. The professor, according to the report, utilizes artificial intelligence to allow cars to accurately and efficiently perceive their surroundings. Urtasun, then, is the ideal individual to be put in charge of Uber's new Advanced Technologies Group. 

The company claims that it will hire "dozens" of engineers and researchers in the near future, reports The Star. And while that would seem like enough to get the Advanced Technologies Group up and running, Uber is also entering into a commitment with Vector Institute. 

As the outlet reports, Uber will also start a multi-year, multimillion-dollar with Vector Institute. The artificial intelligence institute that launched earlier this year in Toronto has received investments from private, as well as government sources. Technology companies, including Nvidia, Google, and Shopify have all invested in Vector Institute. Urtasun, who will continue to teach classes at the University of Toronto while working at Uber's new research, is one of Vector Institute's founding members, reports the outlet. 

"Toronto has emerged as an important hub of artificial intelligence research, which is critical to the future of transportation," wrote Uber CEO Travis Kalanick in a blog on the company's website. In the blog post, Kalanick praised Ontario and federal governments for their investments, claims The Star

Canada's Becoming The Epicenter For Autonomous Cars

Uber isn't the only company that's planning a driverless future in Canada. Late last year, BlackBerry announced that it would be launching a pilot licensing program for self-driving vehicles on public roads in Ontario. Blackberry also joined other groups in the program, including the University of Waterloo's Centre of Automotive Research and Erwin Hymer Group. 

Canada is quickly becoming another place where companies and automakers test autonomous vehicles because of its harsh winters and densely-populated cities, which pose challenges for driverless cars. The country also has a lot of space on offer for companies to gather data with. 

With Uber heading to Canada, it's only a matter of time until other companies follow suit, setting Canada up to become another mega center for driverless tech. 

via: The Star

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