After working on the project for two years, Uber is now planning to shut down its self-driving freight truck division. The firm began to focus on the concept of autonomous trucks in 2016 when it acquired a startup company – Otto, which developed kits that assisted trucks to cover big distances autonomously. Uber invested $680 million to acquire Otto. Uber was benefitted with the expertise of Otto’s co-founder Anthony Levandowski, the genius who built Google’s first autonomous car.
The decision will also bring an end to Uber Freight, the division that connected cargo firms across the United States. Just a few days ago, the San Francisco-based Uber freight blogged to proclaim its year-long association with Land O’Lakes in carrying the latter’s dairy items across Texas which indicates that the decision was taken in hurry. Head of the company’s Advanced Technologies Group, Eric Meyhofer stated that Uber will explicitly work on autonomous cars from now on and will continue to find ways to manage autonomous highway driving.
The company had to stop its self-driving vehicle experiment in Arizona after a deadly accident that killed a pedestrian walking on the street. Uber also suspended tests in Pittsburgh and later resumed it with human operators behind the wheel. The firm fired Levandowski, who is currently working with another autonomous truck firm – Kache.ai. Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of the company stated in January that Uber will launch autonomous cabs on the road by 2019 for which they will need all the assistance they can get. This seems to be the reason behind the decision to halt its trucking business.