Uber on Monday said it is hitting the brakes on self-driving trucks, shifting gears to focus just on autonomous cars.
Uber is among a number of technology and car companies racing toward what some contend is an inevitable future in which vehicles drive themselves.
Uber’s aspirations had included self-driving trucks, with the smartphone-summoned-ride service revving that effort with the purchase of startup Otto two years ago.
“We’ve decided to stop development on our self-driving truck program and move forward exclusively with cars,” Eric Meyhofer, head of Uber advanced technologies group, said in an email response to an AFP inquiry.
San Francisco-based Uber had suspended its self-driving car program after a crash that killed a woman pushing a bicycle in a street in Arizona in March of this year.
Uber has a version of the ride service that matches truck drivers with loads in need of hauling.
In the absence of an urgent need for self-driving trucks to keep Uber Freight competitive, members of that team will work on autonomous cars or be offered spots elsewhere in the company.
Uber Freight has become a national operation since launching in May of 2017.
Otto co-founder Lior Ron left Uber in the weeks after the fatal accident in Arizona, according to media reports.
Ron and co-founders including Anthony Levandowski, started Otto in early 2016. The startup was bought by Uber nine months later in a deal valued at more than $500 million.
Levandowski was a central figure in a blockbuster federal lawsuit filed by Waymo against Uber claiming trade secrets were stolen from the self-driving car project where he worked before leaving to start Otto.
A trial was taking place when Waymo and Uber in February announced a surprise agreement to resolve the legal clash.