Toronto Uber opening up its own branch of AI research

May 8 2017, 3:27 pm

Uber is opening a new branch of its Advanced Technologies Group in Toronto, making it the first of its kind outside of the US.

The company made its announcement on Monday, saying that it will be located at Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District, and that they hope to draw from the region’s impressive talent pool as they grow.

“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,” stated Uber CEO Travis Kalanick on their website.

In the post, Kalanick said they will be making a significant multi-year financial commitment as a platinum sponsor of the Vector Institute, and Uber’s new hire Raquel Urtasun will lead the new 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 Kalanick.

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.

Something the company is interested in advancing on.

“Self-driving technology promises to make our roads safer, our environment healthier and our cities more livable,” wrote Kalanick. “While there’s still a lot of work to be done, we believe that the combination of our global ridesharing network with the cutting-edge software and hardware being built by our teams will make this vision a reality—and we couldn’t be more excited about what’s next.”

At least it sounds more promising than the TTC’s driverless buses.

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