Daily Management Review

Self-Driving Truck Unit To Be Closed Down By Uber


Self-Driving Truck Unit To Be Closed Down By Uber
The self driving truck units is being closed by Uber.
The company now wants to only focus on its self-driving efforts, Uber announced on Monday.
"We believe having our entire team's energy and expertise focused on this effort is the best path forward," said Eric Meyhofer, head of Uber Advanced Technologies Group which is the unit that oversaw self-driving truck development.
The number of employees who would be impacted by the closure was not disclosed by Uber.  The company however said that it had informed employees on Monday and it has planned to reassign the affected workers to other relevant teams. the closure however would not affect another part of the division which is a freight program which offers traditional truck drivers a way to find gigs.
Following the acquisition of autonomous trucking startup Otto in August 2016, testing self-driving trucks was initiated by Uber. An Uber test track in Pittsburgh, California and Arizona were the places where Uber conducted tests for its autonomous trucks.
But for the company's self-driving efforts the last year has been a tough one.
There has bene a bitter legal fight between Uber and Google following the acquisition by Otto. The issue with Google was a fight over rights of autonomous vehicle technology. Google brought in accusations against one of its former employees – an engineer, who was the founder of Otto, of stealing of trade secrets. The case was settled abruptly in February this year.

The self driving program itself had created problems for Uber. A pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona was killed after a self-driving Volvos stuck the person in March. Following the incident there was widespread scrutiny of the entire self driving project itself. According to the police, at the time of the crash, a reality TV was likely being streamed by the person who was in the driver's seat.
The entire self driving project was temporarily stopped by Uber after the crash and the criticisms. The company later said that it would not return to Arizona. The company restarted its self driving protest only last week in Pittsburgh and the cars now have driver who have complete control of the cars.
Measures to enhance the safety and security aspects of the program have been initiated by Uber. The company also lay off about 100 of its staff who were entrusted with the role of sitting behind the wheel of the self-driving cars and promised replacement of such staff with experience people and those with greater technical experience.
The National Transportation Safety Board chairman of the US - Christopher Hart, was also recently hire3d by the company as an advisor.