December 11, 2018
Photo supplied by Uber

By Terry Foster, Spoke News

Transportation giant Uber is set to open a new $200-million engineering and research facility in Toronto, as well as expand its Toronto-based Advanced Technologies Group Research & Development Centre (ATG).

Uber’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, announced the plans for the ATG expansion and new engineering hub at a press conference earlier this month. The ATG facility has been working on Uber’s autonomous car technologies since May 2017 and currently employs 200 people. Uber plans to increase their workforce to over 500 in the next five years and hopes to make fully autonomous cars a part of the Uber network.

Khosrowshahi said that Uber decided to invest in Toronto, “because of the enormous talent here.” He went on to say that the company hopes to make autonomous cars a major part in the transportation services they offer. “It’s a challenge being taken on right here in Toronto by this AI team.”

The statement came less than a year after the company’s autonomous research came to a halt following the death of a pedestrian that was struck by one of Uber’s self-driving cars in Arizona.

Despite some concerns and criticism, Uber has shown that it is still rolling forward with plans to add many new transportation options to their services. Just recently, Uber acquired the bike sharing start-up Jump, as well as made a large partnership investment into Lime, an electric scooter rental startup. It is also working on more broad transportation options, as well as its new prototypes for flying taxis, light rail and other futuristic travel options.

Stock traders are not the only ones investing in Uber. Toyota announced this year that it will also be investing over $500 million into Uber’s self-driving technology. With Ontario being the only province in Canada that allows driverless cars on public roads, we may see more of Uber’s fleet hitting the street very soon.

 

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