- Uber announced it's opening an engineering hub in Toronto as part of a five-year, $150 million investment plan, reports Bloomberg and others. It is also expanding its autonomous vehicle (AV) development capabilities in the city.
- The company will add 300 new jobs in Toronto, according to The Star, in addition to the 200 workers already employed there.
- The new engineering hub, which is expected to open in early 2019, will be the company's eighth outside of the United States. Its Advanced Technologies Group presence in Toronto will be its first AV office outside of the U.S.
Much skepticism and speculation swirled around Uber's AV unit after a fatal crash in Arizona earlier this year, especially after the company shut down operations in Arizona and laid off more AV testers in San Francisco and Pittsburgh this summer. But CEO Dara Khosrowshahi repeatedly has expressed the desire to move forward with the AV business unit after incorporating lessons learned and making improvements, and the expansion in Toronto is proof positive.
Toronto has distinguished itself as one of North America's top smart cities and tech-friendly innovation centers. In CBRE's annual ranking of tech talent markets in North America, this year Toronto rose to number four, behind San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, DC. Bloomberg reports that Toronto actually created more tech sector jobs last year than the other three cities combined.
The Toronto announcement comes on the heels of Uber's partnership with Toyota to advance its AV business, plus a $500 million investment from Toyota.
Uber acquired e-bike operator Jump this spring and Khosrowshahi has spoken about the importance of expanding the company past ride-share to become a more diverse mobility company. He reinforced that idea while speaking in Toronto for the engineering hub announcement, and reportedly alluded to plans for further Jump and e-scooter expansion, in addition to global plans for bus and train service as well as new partnerships with public transit operators.