After opening up its new branch of Advanced Technologies in Toronto earlier this year, Uber has officially taken its self-driving vehicle research on the road.
Two Uber vehicles are being driven in manual mode to collect data for later testing of the company’s self-driving technologies. Manual mode means that it’s a self driving vehicle but the self driving function isn’t turned on. The cars are being operated by specially trained drivers from Pittsburgh and will be conducting mapping in and around the U of T campus until the end of this week, according to Uber Canada spokesperson Susie Heath.
So while the vehicles themselves are not being tested at the moment, they are mapping data that will support the efforts for official testing later this year.
“We’re excited to advance the work of our Advanced Technologies Group’s Toronto lab. These cars will be driven manually while conducting mapping,” said Heath. “We have also obtained a permit from the province for future development testing.”
In May, Uber hired Raquel Urtasun to lead the new AI office in Toronto. Uratsun is a University of Toronto associate professor, and “one of the world’s leading researchers in the fields of machine perception and artificial intelligence” according to the company.
Her work focuses on developing the software that allows self-driving cars to “see”: recognizing objects so they can navigate the world smoothly and safely.
Looks like self-driving cars are one step closer to reality.