Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart joined Uber executives at the UA College of Optical Sciences on Tuesday to celebrate a major economic development partnership between Uber and the UA.
As part of the partnership, which focuses on research and development in the optics space for mapping and safety, the University will become home to Uber’s state-of-the-art mapping test vehicles. Additionally, Uber will donate $25,000 to the College of Optical Sciences to help the next generation of scientists, engineers and researchers continue to explore and develop new, innovative technology.
Ducey called it "a great day for Uber, for the UA and for the future of innovation in Arizona," adding that his administration has been focused on helping companies such as Uber succeed in the state.
"Today’s announcement is the latest signal that it’s working," Ducey said. "All Arizonans stand to benefit from embracing new technologies — especially when it means new jobs, new economic development, new research opportunities and increased public safety and transportation options for our state. That’s what this partnership is about, and I thank Uber and the University of Arizona for their efforts and commitment to making it happen."
"This is an exciting new partnership, and I am glad that the UA's global research leadership allows us to join in a collaborative effort that will have great benefit for this state," Hart said. "Ranked as a top-20 public research university by the National Science Foundation, the UA’s role in Arizona’s innovation and knowledge economy is absolutely vital. Our achievements in advanced optics and imaging technologies in particular will help Uber on the ground in Arizona.
"I’m impressed with Uber’s vision and commitment to this partnership, and grateful for Gov. Ducey’s support and leadership in helping to facilitate it."
Brian McClendon, vice president of advanced technologies for Uber, a transportation network company with headquarters in San Francisco, said "it’s clear that Arizona welcomes innovation."
"We applaud Gov. Ducey and the University of Arizona for their eagerness to embrace new technology," McClendon said. "Over the last 20 years, technology has helped democratize access to so many services — working in partnership with forward-thinking universities and elected officials across the United States. We’re still in the early days of what’s possible, and I look forward to working with Arizona to make the next step of that journey a reality."
U.S. Rep. Martha McSally and Thomas Koch, dean of the College of Optical Sciences, also were on hand for the announcement on the lower level of the optical sciences building on campus.