Uber is teaming up with the University of Arizona to continue its research into self-driving cars.
“Details of the agreement are yet to be finalized,” read an email sent to University of Arizona staff and obtained by The Verge, “but common areas of interest and expertise include mapping and autonomous or ‘self-driving’ technology.”
At the same time he announced the new partnership, Arizona governor Doug Ducey signed an executive order supporting the testing and operation of self-driving vehicles in Arizona.
It’s pretty obvious why Uber is interested in self-driving cars. As of the end of last year, the company had 160,000 drivers. Those drivers, unlike robots, take the majority of every fare. And some of them are filing lawsuits against Uber for misclassifying them as independent contractors.
Uber’s first major research center for the purpose is in Pittsburgh, where it hired many of the staff at Carnegie Mellon University’s robotics center and then announced a “strategic partnership” with the university.