Uber's self-driving car plans just took a big step forward

Arizona to become an R&D hub for Uber

Uber

Uber has received a huge endorsement from Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, who today announced a new partnership between Uber and the University of Arizona as well as opening the state's roads to self-driving cars for testing.

The Office of the Arizona Governor explained the partnership will focus on "research and development in the optics space for mapping and safety," with the university set to become the center for "Uber's state-of-the-art mapping test vehicles."

"Tucson - and the University of Arizona - will be become the next home to our Uber mapping test vehicles," Uber said in its announcement.

Governor Ducey also signed an Executive Order supporting the testing and operation of self-driving vehicles in Arizona.

"All Arizonans stand to benefit from embracing new technologies - especially when it means new jobs, new economic development, new research opportunities and increased public safety and transportation options for our state," Governor Ducey said in the announcement.

Driver-less dreams

The new partnership marks the second with a university, as Uber also opened an Advanced Technologies Centre at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, earlier this year to test its mapping vehicles.

Unfortunately, today's announcement doesn't give us any new information about what stage of development its self-driving cars might be in.

"We're still in the early days of what's possible - and I look forward to working with Arizona to make the next step of that journey a reality," was all that Brian McClendon, VP of advanced technologies for Uber, revealed in regards to the tech.

As part of the partnership with the University of Arizona, Uber will also donate US$25,000 to the university's College of Optical Sciences.

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