Behind the industrial machinery, glossy cars, and general cool factor is a team of women quietly working to make the dream a reality. The program is led by ATG’s chief scientist Raquel Urtasun, who works out of the team’s Toronto research and development lab.
After studying electrical engineering, Urtasun became drawn to machine learning and started developing algorithms for smaller problems (including an algorithm that scans a user’s photo to determine if her outfit is on point). She founded her own AI think tank, Vector Institute, before joining Uber’s team in 2017 (under the condition that she could keep her lab in Canada, where she is a professor of computer science at University of Toronto). With more than eight years of researching AI-based car technology under her belt, she was armed with the rare expertise needed for the job (a 2017 Wired article dubbed Urtasun an AI superstar).