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Uber gutted Carnegie Mellon’s top robotics lab to build self-driving cars



"They took all the guys that were working on vehicle autonomy — basically whole groups, whole teams of developers, commercialization specialists, all the guys that find grants and who were bringing the intellectual property," recalls a person who was there during the departures. "These guys, they took everybody."

All told, Uber snatched up about 50 people from Carnegie Mellon, including many from its highest ranks. That's an unusually high number of people to leave at once, and accounted for about a third of the staff NREC had at the end of last year. Many were top employees, including David Stager, who had been there since 1997 and is now Uber's lead systems engineer; Jean-Sébastien Valois, a senior commercialization specialist who had been with NREC for nearly 12 years (and lists himself as "on leave" on CMU's site); and Anthony Stentz, NREC's director for the past four and a half years, who had been at the center since 1997. News of some of the departures was reported earlier this year byThe Pittsburgh Business Times.

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Sheesh, they took EVERYBODY. 

I guess Uber is gearing up for war against Google. 

Well Uber is a pretty ruthless company... and they have to maintain an insane $50B valuation. Honestly though, for them to be worth 1/2 of VW Group or 2X Tesla -- they will have to build their own self-driving cars, and that's a pretty tall proposition, and the car business doesn't have the best margins. So I sense a correction down the pipeline for Uber...

In the meantime owning CMU's fifty researchers means they can crank up the patents they file.

I would imagine Uber would be very aggressive with using its patents offensively. 

Uber is about 13-15 years late on filing patents for self driving car tech :-) CMU and Stanford alums already filed them ages ago, and a lot are probably owned by VW, Mercedes Benz, BMW, and Tesla already.

Does Google own any patents? I would have thought that would be important to them.

Also seems like Uber is the kind of company that would try to negotiate exclusive rights to patents from the tech transfer offices of CMU and Stanford. 

Boy, that escalated quickly. Can any good come from this?

apparently cmu wasn't paying well enough!

it the grand scheme, i guess it doesn't matter who gets there first.  it does make sense for uber though.

self-driving cars are here and we just keep sliding up that asymptote...

In the grand scheme it does matter. Uber could litigate to set back everyone else.

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