Uber launches artificial intelligence lab

Uber, the ride-sharing service that has revolutionized the transportation industry, is not content with just moving people and things in the real world. It also wants to push the boundaries of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to create new innovations and improve the customer experience. That is why Uber has launched its own AI research division, called Uber AI Labs, in 2016. In this article, we will explore what Uber AI Labs is, what it does, and why it matters for the future of Uber and the world.

What is Uber AI Labs?

Uber AI Labs is a new division of Uber that is dedicated to cutting-edge research in AI and ML. It was formed by acquiring a New York-based AI start-up called Geometric Intelligence, which had 15 specialist researchers who became the initial core of the AI Labs team. The team is led by Gary Marcus, a professor at New York University and the co-founder and former CEO of Geometric Intelligence.

Uber AI Labs has a wide and ambitious scope of research, ranging from improving traffic predictions to working towards a future of flying cars. The team works on both fundamental and applied problems in AI and ML, such as developing new algorithms, exploring new domains, and solving real-world challenges. Some of the areas that Uber AI Labs focuses on are:

  • Computer vision: the ability to process and understand visual information, such as images and videos. This is crucial for self-driving cars, which need to perceive and interpret their surroundings accurately and safely.
  • Natural language processing: the ability to analyze and generate natural language, such as speech and text. This is important for enhancing the communication and interaction between Uber and its users, drivers, and merchants.
  • Reinforcement learning: the ability to learn from trial and error, and optimize actions based on rewards and feedback. This is useful for developing adaptive and intelligent systems that can learn from their own experiences and improve over time.
  • Deep learning: the ability to learn from large and complex data using neural networks, which are inspired by the structure and function of the brain. This is a powerful and popular technique for solving various AI and ML problems, such as image recognition, natural language understanding, and speech synthesis.
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What does Uber AI Labs do?

Uber AI Labs conducts both academic and industrial research, and publishes its findings in peer-reviewed journals and conferences. It also collaborates with other researchers and institutions, such as universities, research labs, and companies, to exchange ideas and foster innovation. Some of the notable projects and publications that Uber AI Labs has been involved in are:

  • UberNet: a unified deep neural network that can perform multiple tasks simultaneously, such as object detection, segmentation, depth estimation, and scene parsing. This can reduce the computational cost and complexity of running multiple models for different tasks, and improve the performance and efficiency of self-driving cars.
  • POET: an algorithm that can generate and optimize diverse and challenging environments for reinforcement learning agents, such as robots or virtual characters. This can enable the agents to learn more general and robust skills that can transfer to new and unseen situations.
  • Plug and Play Language Models: a framework that can generate natural language texts that are conditioned on any type of input, such as images, attributes, or keywords. This can enable the creation of more diverse and realistic texts for various applications, such as captioning, storytelling, or dialogue.
  • Neuropod: an open-source platform that can simplify the development and deployment of deep learning models across different frameworks, such as TensorFlow, PyTorch, or MXNet. This can help developers and engineers to build and run their models faster and easier, and avoid compatibility issues.
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Why does Uber AI Labs matter?

Uber AI Labs is not just a research division, but also a strategic investment for Uber. By creating its own AI research lab, Uber can:

  • Accelerate its innovation and differentiation in the competitive and dynamic market of ride-sharing and transportation. By applying the latest advances in AI and ML to its core business, Uber can offer better and faster services, lower costs, and higher customer satisfaction.
  • Expand its vision and scope beyond ride-sharing and transportation, and explore new opportunities and domains that can benefit from AI and ML. By leveraging its data, infrastructure, and expertise, Uber can create new products and solutions that can address various challenges and needs in the world, such as health, education, or entertainment.
  • Attract and retain top talent and partners in the field of AI and ML. By providing a stimulating and collaborative environment for researchers and engineers, Uber can foster a culture of creativity and excellence, and build a strong reputation and network in the AI and ML community.


Uber Launches Artificial Intelligence Lab is a bold and visionary move by Uber to advance the state of the art in AI and ML, and apply it to its own business and beyond. By creating Uber AI Labs, Uber has shown its commitment and ambition to be a leader and innovator in the field of AI and ML, and to use it to improve the lives of millions of people worldwide. Uber AI Labs is not only a research division, but also a catalyst for change and transformation in the transportation industry and the world.