Daimler is clearly eager to expand its plans for self-driving trucks. The automotive giant is teaming up with Waymo to develop trucks capable of level 4 autonomy, or full self-driving in specific conditions. The early strategy will focus on a modified Freightliner Cascadia that uses Waymo Driver for navigation. This first truck will be available in the US in the "coming years," the companies said. The two would also "investigate" expanding their efforts to other brands and markets.
Self-driving trucks aren't just for hauling beer anymore. Now they can also haul garbage. Not to be outdone by the likes of Uber and Waymo, Volvo has now outlined one of its own autonomous vehicle projects in Sweden: a self-driving garbage truck. Like Uber Freight, the project is another effort to extend self-driving technology beyond just shuttling people around in self-driving taxis. After all, someone has to line up the garbage cans for the vehicle -- because you sure don't when you're rushing your trash out the door on your way to work.
Two years after Uber paid $680 million to buy the self-driving truck startup Otto, the company is folding that effort. In this photo from 2016, an Otto engineer sits behind the steering wheel of a self-driving, big-rig truck during a demonstration in San Francisco. Two years after Uber paid $680 million to buy the self-driving truck startup Otto, the company is folding that effort. In this photo from 2016, an Otto engineer sits behind the steering wheel of a self-driving, big-rig truck during a demonstration in San Francisco. Uber is shutting down its self-driving truck program, nearly six months after it settled a lawsuit from Waymo, the Google spinoff that accused Uber of using its proprietary designs.
Everyone in San Francisco these days wants to build a self-driving car. So in a company town that prides itself on going against the grain, this startup wants to build a self-driving truck. On Tuesday, several former Google, Tesla and Apple engineers announced they had quit their prestigious jobs to start Otto, which aims to sell automation kits for the massive semi-trailers that crowd America's highways. The company says it has logged more than 10,000 test miles and recently tested its truck on a Nevada highway. Self-driving startups have become commonplace in the latest tech boom as many engineers have lost interest in simply building apps and robotics technology becomes cheaper.