Uber gains support for self-driving in Arizona

Mobile taxi firm Uber is working hard on the next generation of taxi drivers; artificial intelligence. In an announcement earlier today, Uber said it has partnered with the University of Arizona to continue work on self-driving.

Working with the university, Uber will create “state-of-the-art mapping test vehicles” with a focus on mapping and safety. It is similar to Google’s agreements with universities to help build its self-driving platform.

On top of the university’s help, Uber also received the seal of approval to test self-driving vehicles on Arizona’s state roads. We don’t know the exact details or limitations, but from what it looks like the taxi firm will be able to use the state as a testing ground.

"All Arizonans stand to benefit from embracing new technologies—especially when it means new jobs, new economic development, new research opportunities and increased public safety and transportation options for our state," said Arizona Governor Ducey in an online statement.

Google is the only current self-driving company to be working on the Californian roads. This new move by Uber looks to step up to Google’s level. From what we understand, Google will license its platform to car manufacturers, while Uber will use it to power its cabs in the future.

This competitive battle for self-driving has put Google and Uber at ends with each other. Google Ventures originally backed Uber in 2013, but the two companies have not been too pleased since then, with Google apparently also working on a taxi service.

While Uber builds up its self-driving team, it is also funnelling a huge amount of money into courier services. The company announced £6.8 billion in bookings by the end of 2015, rising to £16.6 billion in 2016.