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Reuters hosts Newsmaker with Raquel Urtasun, Uber’s Chief Scientist & Head of Advanced Technology Group, Toronto

Raquel Urtasun, chief scientist at Uber Advanced Technologies Group (ATG), attends a Reuters Newsmaker event in New York City, U.S., April 8, 2019. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

On Monday, Reuters hosted a Newsmaker event in New York with Raquel Urtasun, Uber’s Chief Scientist & Head of Advanced Technology Group, Toronto. at Uber.

Urtasun joined Reuters Global News Editor Alessandra Galloni for a live discussion about AI and machine learning in self-driving vehicle development, a sector that has drawn the attention of — and billions of dollars in investment from — global automakers, suppliers and tech companies.

Among the highlights:

–On the future and hopes of self-driving vehicles, Urtasun said, “The hope is that people will not own the vehicles, you will share the vehicles, the rides. We should think of the future as public transit together with self-driving vehicles to empower people to go from point A to point B – cheap and in a timely fashion.” When asked about timeframe, she added, “What is clear is that in a 10-year timeframe there will be a mix of both [self-driving and human-controlled cars].”

–On moral challenges in the autonomous vehicle industry, Urtasun said “I don’t have any moral dilemmas, I think this is the right thing to do,” adding that the goal of her team is to improve transportation and prevent auto accidents.

–On the challenges that could delay the development of autonomous vehicles, Urtasun mentioned the need for improved algorithms, sensors and more energy-efficient computers, in addition to the expensive cost of mapping. However, she added, “If a human can do something, in theory, a robot can do it.”

–Uber is seeking collaborative partners and the company is encouraging self-driving companies to add their cars to the Uber network. “We’ve been very, very open that we would like every other company to be in our network,” Urtasun said on Monday.

The full interview can be viewed here.

[Reuters Press Blog]

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