Uber will be shutting down its self-driving trucks division, almost two years after the programme was spun following its multi-million acquisition of Otto. The Uber Advanced Technologies Group will stop development of the autonomous trucks and will instead shift focus to its driverless vehicle segment.
"We believe having our entire team's energy and expertise focused on [self-driving cars] is the best path forward", ATG head Eric Meyhofer said in a statement.
Controversy was aroused when it purchased Otto, a self-driving truck startup founded by a former Google engineer, in 2016.
The fatal accident came a year after Uber pulled self-driving cars from the roads after another accident which left one of the vehicles on its side.
Apparently, it's not the end of the line for Uber's self-driving trucks.
The ride-hailing company suspended its self-driving auto tests in March after one of the vehicles struck and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona.
However, Uber's acquisition of Otto was later mired in controversy. The acquisition caused some trouble for Uber after Google parent-company Alphabet claimed that Otto was a shell company meant to deliver stolen technology by former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski who had worked on Google's own self-driving auto project, Waymo. The two companies settled the trade secrets case in February, with Uber agreeing to give Waymo some $245 million worth of stock in the auto service company. It claimed that Levandowski had stolen trade secrets from Google, and supplied them to his new employer, Uber.
Uber Freight has become a national operation since launching in May of 2017. TechCrunch noted that Uber ATG will continue looking at ways to tackle autonomous highway driving, and may return to self-driving trucks, but only after it has developed the foundation of the self-driving system.