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Thursday, January 26, 2023

Uber Shuts Down Self-Driving Truck Program


Uber is shutting down its self-driving truck program, saying it will still keep working on self-driving cars.

Uber has spent about $925 million on its effort to create a viable line of self-driving freight trucks — an initiative that was seen as having the potential to remake the trucking industry.

Nearly six months ago the company settled a lawsuit from Waymo, the Google spinoff that accused Uber of using its proprietary designs. Uber agreed to give Waymo $245 million worth of stock in the car service company.

Uber says that, when possible, it will move employees from the trucking unit to work on self-driving cars. It will also continue developing its own LiDAR system — the technology that allows self-driving vehicles to see the world around them by using lasers to shape an evolving 3D image of other objects on the road.

The company also says it will try to build its Uber Freight business — also called “Uber for Trucking” — which looks to directly match truck drivers with shippers.

Introduced in May 2017, that part of the company’s trucking strategy “is unaffected by this decision and remains one of Uber’s most promising businesses,” says Uber spokesperson Sarah Abboud.

Last week, Uber moved to restart public tests of its self-driving cars project, after a tragic incident in March in which one of its cars struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona.

Discussing Uber’s renewed focus on self-driving cars, Meyhofer added, “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.”