Uber and Carnegie Mellon team up to develop driverless cars

Carnegie Mellon and its Robotics Institute have been working on driverless vehicles for years

Adam Berry/Getty Images

Adam Berry/Getty Images

PITTSBURGH — Ride-sharing service Uber is partnering with Carnegie Mellon University on a Pittsburgh research lab both hope could lead to the development of driverless cars.

Carnegie Mellon and its Robotics Institute have been working on driverless vehicles for years, and its work is part of the reason the city has successfully segued from an industry-driven economy to one based on technology and medicine in the last 20 years, with the nearby University of Pittsburgh Medical Center pioneering transplant medicine and other breakthroughs.

The Uber-Carnegie Mellon deal is “another case where collaboration between the city and its universities is creating opportunities for job growth and community development,” Mayor Bill Peduto said

The partnership announced Monday includes Uber funding for faculty chairs and graduate fellowships at the private research university.

San Francisco-based Uber said the Uber Advanced Technologies Center will also focus on mapping and safety technologies in support of its ride-sharing mission.

The lab to be built near CMU’s National Robotics Engineering Center will occupy part of two buildings, including a former chocolate factory.

“Carnegie Mellon has been working very hard over the last few years, developing direct relationships with the absolute top companies in technology and science,” said Andrew Moore, dean of the university’s School of Computer Science. “So it’s not surprising that we tend to bump into each other.”

Carnegie Mellon has partnered with search engine giant Google, which opened offices in the city in 2006, and in 2007 won a $2 million prize by helping General Motors develop a driverless SUV that won a 60-mile (100-kilometre) race sponsored by the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Uber operates in 200 cities in 54 countries, including Pittsburgh and Harrisburg.

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