Uber Invests Heavily In Artificial Intelligence With Launch Of Uber AI Labs

The move, bolstered by the acquisition of AI research entity Geometric Intelligence, is likely aimed at developing the technology needed to make Uber's vision of the self-driving car future a reality.

Uber is increasing its investment in artificial intelligence and machine learning with the founding of Uber AI Labs, a new division of the company fully dedicated to AI research — and the move is likely aimed at producing the kind of technology necessary to make a full fleet of Uber self-driving cars a reality.

Uber has been clear about its vision of a near-future with safe, advanced autonomous vehicles, but the technology that might power such cars needs to get a lot smarter in the meantime; negotiating the real world is “a high-order intelligence problem,” the company said in a blog post.

As such, Uber AI Labs will work to address this with a research team coming from the acquisition of AI research startup Geometric Intelligence. Geometric Intelligence’s 15 members will form the initial core of the AI Labs team, Uber confirmed Monday.

AI Heats Up

Uber isn’t the only Silicon Valley company betting on artificial intelligence, of course. Google, Apple, Facebook, and more have pushed into the field with the development of everything like voice recognition software to the increasingly hot battle to develop the technology underlying the aforementioned self-driving car.

Uber is well aware of the competition in this field, so expect to see progress out of Uber AI Labs sooner rather than later .

“It’s going to be a very long time before a self-driving car will be able to make all the kinds of trips that Uber does every single day,” Jeff Holden, Uber’s chief product officer, told The New York Times. “But the answers to this are all going to come in the form of artificial intelligence. [And] from a defensive perspective, if someone else develops them first, we’re in trouble.”

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Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.