Uber, the San Franciso-based ride sharing company with a global presence, has announced it is partnering with Carnegie Mellon University to create an Advanced Technologies Center in Lawrenceville in the RIDC Chocolate Factory building near 43rd Street.
Bringing together Uber technology staff and CMU faculty experts and students in research and development, the focus of the partnership will be in the areas of mapping, vehicle safety and autonomy technology—the development of robotically driven cars.
“We are excited to join the community of Pittsburgh and partner with the experts at CMU, whose breadth and depth of technical expertise, particularly in robotics, are unmatched,” says Uber’s chief product officer, Jeff Holden. “As a global leader in urban transportation, we have the unique opportunity to invest in leading edge technologies to enable the safe and efficient movement of people and things at giant scale.”
Discussions regarding the exact details—including dollar amounts and real estate—of Uber’s investment are still underway, says Andrew Moore, Dean of the School of Computer Science at CMU.
But the agreement includes funding from Uber for faculty chairs, graduate fellowships and the potential for numerous jobs for the region, especially in the area of robotics.
“Things are moving along quickly,” says Moore.
In fact, within the last couple of weeks, Uber researchers have already taken up their new roles on-site, he adds.
The reason for the collaboration is twofold, explains Moore.
“Pittsburgh is one of the few cities in the world with a strong base of robotics experts,” he says.
And he notes, CMU pioneered autonomous driving technology that culminated in the school’s teams winning competitions by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), by placing second and third in the DARPA Grand Challenge in 2005, and then by winning the DARPA Urban Challenge in 2007, he explains.
“Uber is a rapidly growing company known for its innovative technology that is radically improving access to transportation for millions of global citizens,” he says. “CMU is renowned for innovations that transform lives. We look forward to partnering with Uber as they build out the Advanced Technologies Center and to working together on real-world applications, which offer very interesting new challenges at the intersection of technology, mobility and human interactions.
“I am pleased to welcome Uber to the growing list of leading technology companies that are coming to Pittsburgh to help invent the future,” says Mayor Bill Peduto in a statement. “This is yet another case where collaboration between the city and its universities is creating opportunities for job growth and community development.”