Uber has announced that it is shutting down its self-driving truck program. The move comes as Uber’s self-driving technology has come under fire after one of the company’s self-driving cars struck and killed a pedestrian.
Two years ago, Uber reportedly paid $680 million to acquire a startup called Otto. This was the start of Uber’s self-driving truck program, but also the beginning of a long legal battle. Otto had been co-founded by Anthony Levandowski, a former engineer at Google’s self-driving car division called Waymo. According to Waymo’s suit, Levandowski had started Otto using trade secrets taken from Waymo. This meant that Uber was now allegedly in possession of self-driving tech from Waymo. Just one week after the trail began, Uber settled the suit with Waymo by giving the company $245 million worth of stock.
So after two years and spending – by some estimates – over a billion dollars, Uber is closing down their self-driving truck program. According to Uber though, the company is folding employees from the truck program into their self-driving car program.
“We’ve decided to stop development on our self-driving truck program and move forward exclusively with cars,” said an Uber executive according to The Verge.
Even Uber’s self-driving car testing is struggling however. After the fatal accident, Uber pulled its self-driving cars from the road. Now they’re operating again in Pittsburgh, but human drivers are controlling the vehicles at all times.
By Samuel Barradas.