Uber shuts down self-driving trucks division to focus on autonomous cars

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The ride-hailing business Uber has shut its self-driving trucks division to focus solely on its research with autonomous cars.

Although the division had completed a delivery of Budweiser beer in 2016, it is now shutting down as the company focuses on self-driving people transport.

The decision is understood to have been driven by a desire to focus the team researching autonomous trucks onto the work going into autonomous cars.

Eric Meyhofer, the head of Uber’s team developing self-driving technologies, said: “We believe having our entire team’s energy and expertise focused on this effort is the best path forward.”

Although the research is into developing autonomous vehicles – vehicles that operate completely without human intervention – current trials outside of laboratory settings across the industry have been exclusively semi-autonomous.

Uber suspended testing of its self-driving cars after one struck and killed a female cyclist in Phoenix, Arizona, back in March.

In the US, the government has voluntary guidelines for companies that want to test autonomous vehicles, leaving much of the regulation up to states.

The company’s autonomous driving division had been embroiled in a dispute with Google’s sister company Waymo over alleged technology theft until February.

Uber settled the lawsuit brought against it by Waymo after firing an engineer who formerly worked for Waymo, and whom Waymo accused of stealing trade secrets.



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