Uber’s controversial self-driving truck division shuts down

Enlarge / Anthony Levandowski, then VP of engineering at Uber, in 2016. Levandowski co-founded self-driving truck startup Otto and then led Uber’s self-driving technology efforts before being fired in 2017. (credit: ANGELO MERENDINO/AFP/Getty Images)
Uber is shutting down its self-driving truck program, the company acknowledged on Monday. It’s the latest example of Uber scaling back its self-driving technology efforts in the wake of a deadly Uber self-driving car crash in March.
Uber’s self-driving truck program has been embroiled in controversy since Uber acquired the unit two years ago. The acquisition price was reportedly $680 million, though the actual cost may have been much less than that. Previously, it had been a startup called Otto, led by controversial ex-Waymo engineer Anthony Levandowski. Waymo sued Uber, arguing that Levandowski had taken Waymo trade secrets with him on the way out the door.
Uber wound up firing Levandowski in 2017 and settling the lawsuit with Waymo earlier this year, clearing the way for Uber to focus on developing the self-driving truck technology. In March, Uber began testing its self-driving trucks hauling real freight. The company developed an innovative hybrid model for self-driving truck deliveries, where a human driver would handle tricky urban driving at the beginning and end of the trip, while software could handle the relatively simple long-haul highway driving in between.
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Source: Car news one

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