Uber is folding its self-driving truck program, the company confirmed Monday, to focus exclusively on building its own self-driving passenger car technology. "We recently took the important step of returning to public roads in Pittsburgh, and as we look to continue that momentum, we believe having our entire team's energy and expertise focused on this effort is the best path forward," Eric Meyhofer, head of Uber Advanced Technologies Group, said in a statement provided to ZDNet. Back in March, Uber halted its self-driving car tests in every city in the US after a pedestrian in Arizona was killed by an Uber car operating in autonomous mode. Just last week the company announced it would resume testing its self-driving cars in Pittsburgh -- but in manual mode, with a human driver always in control. Uber launched its self-driving truck division with the 2016 acquisition of Otto.
Waymo, Google's self-driving car division, this week offered it first ride-along to media in their fleet of Lexus autonomous vehicles that the company has been testing on roads in the suburbs of Phoenix since last year. SAN FRANCISCO -- Waymo, Google's newly renamed self-driving car division, has decided to stop shaming humans. Since 2015, Google's autonomous car team has been blogging monthly about both the progress of the project as well as the nature of the accidents suffered by its fleet of Lexus hybrid SUVs and small two-person prototypes. In every instance but one, fewer than a dozen all told, human drivers were at fault. Typically, the accidents involved either distracted or anxious humans rear-ending the Google cars at a stop light at walking speeds.
Honda and Google's parent company, Alphabet, are in formal talks to develop self-driving vehicles, the Japanese carmaker said on Thursday, months after the US firm signed a deal to use its technology in Fiat Chrysler minivans. The prospect of a deal between Honda and Alphabet's self-driving unit Waymo, which was spun off from Google earlier this month, is part of attempts by some car manufacturers to address the high cost of developing reliable automation software by teaming up with technology firms rather than going it alone. Honda, however, said any collaboration with Waymo did not mean it was abandoning efforts to develop its own autonomous driving system. While its driverless project has not garnered as much attention as similar plans by bigger firms such as Toyota, Honda unveiled a prototype driverless car in June and has said it hopes to see the fully autonomous vehicle appear on motorways in four years' time. "In addition to these on-going (in-house) efforts, this technical collaboration with Waymo could allow Honda research and development to explore a different technological approach to bring fully self-driving technology to market," Honda said in a statement.
Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday it had agreed with ride-hailing firm Lyft Inc. to acquire the U.S. firm's self-driving division for $550 million, aiming to accelerate its development of autonomous driving technologies. The purchase via Woven Planet Holdings Inc., a Toyota unit engaging in software development, will equip the Japanese automaker with development bases in California and London in addition to Tokyo. Woven Planet and Lyft also have agreed to use Lyft's system and fleet data to speed up commercialization of Woven Planet's automated-driving technology and improve its safety features. This will be the first buyout by Woven Planet since it began operations in January this year. It plans to complete the acquisition of Lyft's division, Level 5, in five years.
The team is mainly researchers from Samsung's semiconductor and sensor division, according to The Korea Herald, which cites a local newspaper. One of the three CEOs, vice chairman Kwon Oh-hyun, is overseeing the task force. Not much is known about Samsung's progress in building chips and sensors for self-driving vehicles. The market is currently dominated by one Japanese company, which sells 50 percent of all self-driving sensors. Samsung has had deals in the past with BMW, as the sole provider of batteries for its electric and hybrid cars.