Uber Shuts Down Self-Driving Truck Program to Focus on Cars

Uber has announced on Monday that its self-driving truck division will be shut down. The news comes amidst controversy that has erupted regarding Uber’s self-driving vehicles after a fatal accident in March.

The self-driving truck program started two years ago, when Uber acquired a startup called Otto for an estimated $680 million. Otto was co-founded by Anthony Levandowski, a former engineer at Waymo, Alphabet’s autonomous vehicle subsidiary.

Waymo proceeded to sue Uber following its acquisition of Otto due to allegations that Levandowski downloaded more than 14,000 proprietary files before his resignation and used them at Otto. Uber settled with Waymo and fired Levandowski in 2017 and continued to focus on developing self-driving trucks, launching real-world highway tests in March. Days later, after one of Uber’s autonomous vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona, the company halted all of its self-driving programs and laid off most of its safety drivers.

Uber has gradually resumed testing of its self-driving cars since the incident, currently taking place under human-operated conditions on the streets of Pittsburgh. The company has simultaneously announced the end of its self-driving truck program.

“We’ve decided to stop development on our self-driving truck program and move forward exclusively with cars,” said Eric Meyhofer, director of Uber’s self-driving technology division, in a statement to The Verge.

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