In what may be the best sign yet that Uber is serious about becoming a leader in the emerging world of autonomous driving, the ride-sharing company announced this week that it has hired Ford Motor Company’s top electronics and engineering director.
Sherif Markaby will head up Uber’s global vehicle programs in Pittsburgh, where Uber operates its Advanced Technology Center in a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Markaby has been with Ford since 2003 and has worked in advanced technologies for a decade both in the United States and in Europe.
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Uber has invested heavily in autonomous driving, both by collecting information from drivers using its app and by partnering with Ford to test autonomous cars at the new campus in Pittsburgh.
The ride-share company is in a heated race with Google to both rival and complement automakers’ autonomous driving efforts.
Uber hasn’t said just what it has in mind for everything it gleans from the Advanced Technology Center, but it’s safe to say that autonomous ride-sharing is among its major goals.
At Uber, Markaby will report directly to vice president of Advanced Technologies Brian McClendon, who was snapped up by Uber from Google’s Maps division last summer.