Uber Partners with Arizona University for Driverless Cars

Gov. Doug Ducey, third left, signs an agreement with University of Arizona President Ann Weaver, second right, and Brian McClendon, the vice president for Uber which will allow them to the test and do research on driverless technology in the Tucson area, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015, in Tucson, Ariz. Rep Martha McSally, far left, and Mayor Jonathan Rothschild witnessed the signing. Ducey made the announcement at the University of Arizona Optical Sciences which will assist n the mapping and safety technology. (A.E. Araiza/Arizona Daily Star via AP) ALL LOCAL TELEVISION OUT; PAC-12 OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT; GREEN VALLEY NEWS OUT

Uber has partnered with the University of Arizona for a research and development project in the optics space, in order to improve on the imaging technology used to build mapping and safety features necessary for self-driving cars.

As part of the deal, Uber will be donating to the universitys college of optical sciences to fund future research and investing further in the technology ecosystem of Arizona.

The universitys hometown of Tucson will also become the next testing ground for Ubers driverless mapping vehicles. The cars have also started testing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where Uber has signed a similar partnership with the robotics department of Carnegie Mellon University.

In June, Uber acquired Microsofts mapping division – after losing out in the bidding war for Nokias HERE business in May – in order to accelerate its efforts to develop a self-driving vehicle.

“Over the past 20 years, technology has helped democratise access to many services — often working in partnership with forward-thinking universities and elected officials across the US. But we’re still in the early days of what is possible,” said Uber Phoenix GM Steve Thompson. “Even five years ago it was almost unimaginable that anyone, anywhere in 330 cities around the world would be able to press a button and get a ride in less than five minutes. We thank Governor Ducey, the City of Tucson, the University of Arizona and all of our state-wide partners for working with Uber to continue advancing that vision.”