Raquel Urtasun, an associate professor in the University of Toronto’s department of computer science, says the age of self-driving cars at scale – when the tech is affordable and safe for everyone to use – could be just a decade away.
That’s one of several insights Urtasun recently provided to Toronto Life, which drew back the curtain on Uber’s only self-driving lab outside the U.S.
As chief scientist at Uber Advanced Technologies Group, Urtasun’s “modern, bright and busy” research and development lab sports a number of her U of T PhD students working as staff. The MaRS-based lab also features an all-female leadership team – including alumna Inmar Givoni, a former PhD student.
Uber and Urtasun were a match made in heaven. Uber wanted to develop a self-driving fleet and needed the expertise of Urtasun, considered an “AI superstar” by Wired magazine. Uber hired her in 2017 and gave her access to vast resources and data. “This is the best AI research lab for self-driving in the world,” Urtasun told Toronto Life.