Uber is reportedly building a robotics research lab in Pittsburgh, PA – home of Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute – to "kickstart autonomous tax fleet development." So it begins...

UPDATE: Here's the official announcement from Uber, which states:

Uber and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) are announcing today a strategic partnership that includes the creation of the Uber Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh, near the CMU campus. The center will focus on the development of key long-term technologies that advance Uber's mission of bringing safe, reliable transportation to everyone, everywhere.

The partnership will provide a forum for Uber technology leaders to work closely with CMU faculty, staff, and students — both on campus and at the National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) — to do research and development, primarily in the areas of mapping and vehicle safety and autonomy technology.

That's the word from TechCrunch sources who says the ridesharing company is hiring more than 50 scientists from the university, which had a hand in developing the Mars Rover, and the nearby National Robotics Engineering Center.

Uber will reportedly be tasking researchers with developing not only the core technology and infrastructure, but also working on the vehicles themselves out of the Pittsburgh facility.

The development shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone following Uber's issues with drivers in the past, something that the company's CEO, Travis Kalanick, would "happily" replace with self-driving cars.