Uber’s Self-Driving Truck Research Project Ending
USA- Breitbart.com reports that Uber has decided to end its self-driving truck project, which would have made massive changes to the trucking industry. The company released a statement saying that they chose to end the project and focus only on self-driving cars.*
In 2016, Uber bought Otto; a self-driving truck startup company. The acquisition resulted in a legal battle when Alphabet, the parent company that owns Google, accused Uber of using Otto as a shell company that would allow Uber to take stolen technology that came from an engineer who had been involved with Google’s Waymo project, which is a competing driverless car company. The dispute ended in a settlement, with Uber paying Waymo $245 million in Uber’s private shares. The valuation used for the shares was from 2015.
Following Uber’s costly battle with Alphabet, Uber looked to be moving forward successfully, with its driverless vehicle program until a deadly accident caused a PR nightmare for the company and the program. In March 2018, one of Uber’s self-driving vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona. The company stopped its test program while the death of the 49-year-old woman was investigated. The accident led to Uber laying off hundreds of its “safety drivers” in both Arizona and Pittsburgh.
Uber is now taking steps to restart its driverless car projects.
The road towards driverless vehicles will involve more than the development of technology. Companies will have to change the minds of the public. One study conducted by the AAA indicated 78% of people are afraid of riding in autonomous vehicles and 41% of people did not want to be on the road with autonomous vehicles. Of course, with human mistakes leading to 94% of car crashes, perhaps people are not fair to autonomous vehicles.
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