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Microsoft Research Special Projects group tipped to take on Google X

There's a new Special Projects Group in Microsoft Research (MSR) that is tasked with working on "disruptive technologies that could benefit the company and society."

selfdrivingcar
That unit sounds a lot like Google X from its description. And from what one contact of mine says, that similarity is intentional.

I'm hearing from my sources that the new MSR Special Projects team boss is Norman Whitaker, who most recently was the Deputy Director of the Information Innovation Office at DARPA, the U.S. Department of Defense's research arm. Whitaker previously was the Program Manager for the DARPA Urban Challenge program, which encompasses self-driving vehicles, as well as other kind of automated bots.

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