Curiosity and passion are the driving forces behind most great inventions — from the discovery of electricity to the creation of the Internet.  Because breakthroughs happen when someone, somewhere asks “How can this be done?”  And has the drive to go make it happen.

It’s why partnerships between corporations and universities can be so powerful.  Tech companies, by their nature, focus on nearer-term engineering challenges that can push their business forward.  While universities work to advance the state of the art.  As a result they are designed to create the time and space needed to work on longer-term problems.  

So Subra Suresh, President of Carnegie Mellon University, and I are excited to announce that Uber will give $5.5M to support a new robotics faculty chair as well as three fellowships at CMU.  This gift is part of a partnership we announced earlier this yearFaculty chairs and graduate fellowships are vital to CMU’s twin missions of research and education — and help the university continue to attract the world’s best roboticists.  In addition, we’re pumped to be part of a growing innovation ecosystem in Pittsburgh that includes world leading research institutions and companies, as well as an increasing number of start-ups.

Carnegie Mellon University has proven the power of curiosity many times over with its groundbreaking research in computer science and robotics:  research that has made self-driving cars possible.  And we’re passionate about our mission to make transportation as reliable as running water, for everyone everywhere.  So while it’s still early days in our partnership, the potential to improve transportation — from safer cars to smarter cities — is immense.  As Allen Newell, one of the founding fathers of computer science at CMU, said: “Good science makes a difference.”

— Travis Kalanick, CEO, Uber