Uber partners up in a step towards autonomous cars image

The American network company is looking to develop self-propelled cars, partnering with optics experts from a University in the U.S.

Uber is looking to work with researchers from the University of Arizona’s College of Optical Science in its attempt to get closer to robotic taxis. The collaboration would target only mapping and optical sensors, and in addition to these special vehicles, Uber is also looking to create digital mapping after the ride-hailing service failed to purchase Nokia’s Here mapping service post a reported $3 billion offer.

The partnership was announced by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s office, and it will focus on research and development in the optics area for mapping and safety. The Ford Fusion cars that are Uber’s test vehicles and which are equipped with mapping and autonomous driving technology will be tested in Tucson.

Even if Uber has previously said that test vehicles are not the same with self-driving cars, a coincidence did take place close to the announcement. Governor Doucey signed an order that permits testing and operation of self-driving cars in Arizona, which might mean that Uber is preparing in the end to test some self-driving technology.

This is not the first time Uber is collaborating with a University, as the San Francisco company made no secret of its work on their own mapping service and automated cars to fulfill its global ambitions. Uber had partnered up with the robotics laboratory at the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, U.S., a pioneer in self-propelled cars.

A number of 40 researchers from that University accepted afterwards to work for Uber, and the firm is still looking for new employees to join its team.

 

By Gabriela Florea