Uber Puts the Brakes on Self-Driving Truck Program That Spurred Lawsuit
A promising program to put Uber in the driver’s seat for freight has hit the brakes: the company has stopped development on Otto, its self-driving truck project. The news, first reported by TechCrunch, was confirmed in a statement by Eric Meyhofer, Head of Uber Advanced Technologies Group. Otto garnered early attention by completing a 120-mile autonomous delivery in October 2016.
Uber said that it was shifting resources within its Advanced Technologies Group, which handles research on autonomous vehicles, to focus entirely on cars. Following a fatality in Arizona in March this year, after which the company stopped all its street-based driving tests, the company only last week returned to the road, starting in Pittsburgh.
The truck project was acquired from Otto, which operated in San Francisco, while Uber’s car development occurs in Pittsburgh, where the company has hired away a big portion of the local Carnegie Mellon University’s robotics group in 2015. Employees will be reassigned or offered severance, according to the company.
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