While nearly 20% of U.S. car accidents are caused by distracted driving, a recent report from Business Insider proposes a solution: self-driving cars. The new-age taxi service Uber has been teaming up with the University of Arizona to make a new car that drives itself, and the team is currently focused on research and development for the car’s mapping and optics. Uber is also donating $25,000 to the university’s College of Optical Sciences, a small piece of its $7 billion empire.
Travis Kalanick, Uber’s CEO, has made many comments on the benefits of self-operated vehicles, pointing out that these kinds of cars would eliminate a major chunk of the costs of operation, and could lead the way to getting rid of car ownership in Uber’s business model entirely.
“The reason Uber could be expensive is because you’re not just paying for the car — you’re paying for the other dude in the car. When there’s no other dude in the car, the cost of taking an Uber anywhere becomes cheaper than owning a vehicle. So the magic there is, you basically bring the cost below the cost of ownership for everybody, and then car ownership goes away.”
The email that was sent out to University of Arizona staff revealed the university’s excitement to be working on such a revolutionary new project with such a great “new” company.
“This is a very exciting new partnership, and I am so very glad that the UA’s global research leadership and commitment to innovation allows us to join in a collaborative effort that will have great benefit for this state. One of the exciting facets of public-private partnerships such as this one with Uber is to see University research engaged at the forefront of commercial and technological innovation,” the email stated. “I am impressed with Uber’s vision and commitment to support discovery that will drive Arizona’s innovation and knowledge economy. I am grateful for Governor Ducey’s support for this partnership and for his leadership in helping to facilitate it. I look forward to the great things the partnership will do for our state and its people.”