In the aftermath of the Arizona incident where a self-driving Uber car rammed into a pedestrian causing a fatal injury, the self-driving movement is rightfully losing momentum, as pressure mounts for governmental regulation and car-manufacturers to reevaluate safety and liability concerns. PakWheels recently reported that Toyota had paused self-driving car testing and now we have confirmed reports that Uber has stalled its Self-Driving Truck Project.
While the self-driving tech was hailed as a major potential disruptor in the global trucking and locomotive industry, progress has been slow and has met with legal roadblocks citing safety concerns.
Uber acquired Otto, a startup led by an ex-Google engineer to bring in their expertise on self-driving tech for $680 million in 2016. In 2017 a legal battle with Google over claims of stolen innovation cost the company $244 million in an out of court settlement. The 2018 Arizona accident, however, seems to have been the final blow to this venture which will now see its lead engineers shift to Uber’s Self-Driving Car program.
“Self-driving technology has the potential to change how we move, reinvent how we design cities, and save lives,” said Eric Meyhofer the Head of Uber Advanced Technologies Group.“We recognize our responsibility to contribute to this future, and the essential role that safety plays as we move forward”, he added while announcing the redeployment of self-driving cars back to road-testing over four months, after the fatal accident.
While criticism mounts on auto manufacturers on the safety of self-driving vehicles, the auto-industry has reentered the debate on the extent to which this technology should be autonomous. Browse through our Guide on Self-Driving Automation Levels for a better understanding of the different classes of self-driving configurations.
Apple, however, is determined to bring forth the next generation of self-driving tech, which it has been testing out on more than 50 vehicles driving around California today. The company aims to go mass-market with this tech by 2019, as reported by PakWheels.
For local and international updates, stay tuned to our blog.