Months after an Uber self-driving vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona, the ride-hailing giant has announced it’s adding a new engineering hub in Toronto and expanding its autonomous research team as it refocuses its self-driving car efforts.
In his first visit to the Canadian tech hub since becoming CEO of Uber last year, Dara Khosrowshahi announced plans to invest $150 million in Toronto over the next five years. Uber will bring on 300 new employees, bringing the company’s total headcount in Toronto to 500. The new engineering hub is expected to open early next year.
We’ve reached out to Uber for comment.
“At Uber, we recognize Canada’s commitment to innovation and the vibrancy of Toronto’s tech ecosystem,” Khosrowshahi said in a statement provided to the Toronto Star. “We want to support the innovation coming out of this great, diverse region.”
Uber opened the Toronto Advanced Technologies Group office last May. It’s led by local AI researcher Raquel Urtasun, a University of Toronto professor and the Canada Research Chair in Machine Learning and Computer Vision.
The company initially suspended all efforts to get self-driving cars on the road following the fatal crash and opted not to renew its self-driving car permit in the state of California. Its vehicles have returned to public roads, but in manual mode.
Uber has been testing self-driving cars in Toronto since last year and has said the company remains “very committed” to beefing up its AV research in the region.