Uber stops development of self-driving truck program

By Mark Schremmer, Land Line associate editor | Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Uber will shift its focus away from self-driving trucks, the company announced this week.

“We’ve decided to stop development on our self-driving truck program and move forward exclusively with cars,” Eric Meyhofer, head of Uber Advanced Technologies Group, said in a statement.

An Uber spokeswoman added that Uber Freight is “unaffected by this decision and remains one of Uber’s most promising businesses.” According to the company, Uber Freight has tripled its staff over the past 15 months, and load volume is doubling every quarter.

The company plans to redirect employees who were working on self-driving trucks to other aspects of developing self-driving technology.

Uber purchased Otto, a self-driving trucking company, in August 2016. The deal was originally reported to be worth $680 million. However, later reports said the deal could have been for as little as $220 million.

In early March, Uber announced a breakthrough in self-driving trucks when it released video of a veteran truck driver and a self-driving truck connect for a transfer in Arizona.

Later that month, however, Uber suffered a setback in its self-driving efforts when a self-driving car struck and killed a passenger in Arizona. Uber suspended its testing of self-driving vehicles on public roads after the incident.

The company recently resumed testing by placing self-driving cars in Pittsburgh.

“We recently took the important step of returning to public roads in Pittsburgh, and, as we look to continue that momentum, we believe having our entire team’s energy and expertise focused on this effort is the best path forward,” Meyhofer said.


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