Microsoft Research division is reportedly building a Special Projects group, which will work on “disruptive technologies that could benefit the company and society.” This is according new job posting at Microsoft’s career site and information from Mary Jo Foley from ZDNet.
The Special Projects team at Microsoft Research is being headed by Norman Whitaker, former Deputy Director of the Information Innovation Office at DARPA, part of the science and research division of the U.S. Department of Defense, which has previously worked on DARPA Urban Challenge program that involved projects around self-driving cars and other type of automated robots.
This new sub-division sounds a lot like Google X, which is a group inside of Google responsible for projects like Google Glass, self-driving cars, Project Loon (the balloon project to bring free internet access to everyone), and many other.
Microsoft Research division already worked on number of projects, recently the division showed off SurroundWeb, bringing web content to the walls. Holograph, a 3D technology that brings large set of data to the screen in a way that looks projected above the screen. And the latest keyboard prototype integrated with hand gestures.
Will Microsoft be the next company building a self-driving car? Possible, however the company has yet to comment in the new Special Projects group. What we know for sure according to the job posting is the team will be working on areas of networking, distributed computing, UX design, devices, cloud, mobility, machine learning/artificial intelligence, big data and data center technologies.