In the unmanned field, unmanned trucks are one of the fastest-growing projects. But recently, Uber has announced the closure of its unmanned truck division, and its Uber Advanced Technologies Group will no longer develop unmanned trucks, and the focus will be shifted to unmanned cars.
"We have taken another important step in getting the unmanned vehicle back on the Pittsburgh public road. We will continue to maintain this momentum. I believe that it is the best way to focus the entire team's energy on this." Uber Senior Technical Team Eric Meyhofer, the person in charge, said in the mail.
Uber’s unmanned truck department only lived for two years, from the birth of the glory to the sudden departure. How could this be?
Uber unmanned trucks
The birth of the Uber Unmanned Truck Division began with an acquisition. In August 2016, Uber acquired Otto, a self-driving truck company founded less than a year ago, for $680 million. This is the company founded by Anthony Levandowski, a former core engineer at Google Momo. At that time, Uber's CEO was not surnamed Kosrosa, but the more familiar Karanic.
Uber founder, former CEO Karanic (left) and Otto founder Lewan (right)
Two months after the acquisition, Uber unmanned trucks caught the attention of foreign media: a Uber unmanned truck loaded with Budweiser beer and 193 kilometers on the Colorado highway. Who knows, Uber once again entered the public's field of vision after 9 months of acquisition, Waymo accused Lewan of using the trade secrets related to Waymo's internal lidar technology, and used this to launch Otto, which was eventually used by Uber.
In February 2017, Waymo sued Otto and Uber for patent infringement and theft of trade secrets. Waymo believes that Lewan's more than 14,000 confidential and proprietary documents downloaded before leaving the company contain lidar technology secrets. It was at this time that Uber unmanned trucks began to decline.
After a stalemate between the two sides, in February of this year, the first case of this automatic driving finally ushered in a big solution: Waymo and Uber reconciled. Uber agrees not to use Waymo's software or hardware in the advanced technical team. At the same time, Waymo acquired a 0.34% stake in Uber, valued at more than $244 million, based on Uber's $72 billion valuation. After a lawsuit, Uber was decent. Who knows that half a year later, the Uber senior technical team involved in the storm disbanded, the unmanned truck project stagnate, and the life and death drama came to a close.
Uber's abandonment of the truck may have been clues. According to foreign media TechCrunch reported in early July this year, the involved engineers suspected to be associated with the mysterious self-driving truck company Kache.ai. From the pinyin point of view, it is similar to the word "truck", but it is not yet possible to verify Kache.ai's external partners.
Previously, Uber's unmanned truck division was in San Francisco, and the main R&D team for unmanned cars was stationed in Pittsburgh. After this transformation, the unmanned truck staff will be transferred to support the unmanned car department, and the workplace will gradually become excessive to Pittsburgh.
As for the progress of the Uber unmanned car?
According to foreign media TechCrunch, Uber's modified Volvo XC90 autopilot is currently only manually driven, and Uber will adopt a new set of safety standards, including factual monitoring of autopilot safety officers. Going to Pittsburgh to be an unmanned car, it seems that Uber is ready.