Uber is stopping development of its self-driving truck program, the company has confirmed, and will focus instead on its autonomous car development plan, which many believe is the future of the company and the ride-sharing industry in general.
The company announced late on Monday evening that the Uber Advanced Technologies Group will halt development of its self-driving trucks, according to TechCrunch, preferring to refocus its attention on the self-driving cars.
However, the research into Lidar -- the light detection and ranging technology which enables self-driving cars to "see" the road ahead -- will continue, as will Uber Freight, a service which connects truck drivers to shipping companies.
The self-driving truck program by Uber has been dogged by controversy since it began. In August 2016 it acquired Otto, which had been founded a few months previously by former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski. Within two months of the acquisition, it said it had a truck which drove 120 miles down a highway. However, in early 2017, Waymo (Google's autonomous-vehicle subsidiary) filed a lawsuit against Uber, alleging Levandowski stole trade secrets, starting the whole sorry saga, which eventually ended in a settlement that saw Uber agreeing not to use confidential Waymo information or research. (See Uber CEO Knew About Stolen Waymo Files, Lawyers Say.)
Uber will refocus its attention fully on its self-driving car program. (Image: Wikimedia)
In an emailed statement to TechCrunch, Eric Meyhofer, head of Uber Advanced Technologies Group, said: "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."