Waymo Via, a division of Alphabet Inc., is shifting its focus from self-driving trucks to self-driving cars for ridesharing.
Companies working on self-driving cars are decreasing. Waymo Via stopped working on them.
Waymo laid off 12,000 people in January. Foes are spreading stories about the company’s future plans for self-driving trucks. Waymo Via has been in limited beta since March. It first started working with some limits.
Reuters reported that the company has reduced its staff by 8% this year, following a second round of layoffs in March.
The number of jobs lost due to the recent change is unclear.
In a press release on Wednesday, a Waymo spokesperson stated that only a few trucking roles were affected. Many individuals were successfully transitioned into other roles at the company that aligned with their skill set.
Relative Newcomer To Autonomous Trucking
Waymo’s self-driving cars started operating in March 2020. Waymo is the new name for the Google Self-Driving Car Project. The project began in 2009. Waymo made progress in both areas by letting self-driving cars on city streets share systems with self-driving cars on roads.
Waymo co-CEOs Tekedra Mawakana and Dmitri Dolgov wrote in a blog post on Wednesday that they have decided to concentrate their efforts and investment on ride-hailing due to the significant commercial opportunity and strong momentum in that sector.
We have decided to prioritize ride-hailing, which means we will delay our commercial and operational efforts in trucking as well as most of our technical development in that area.
Aurora Innovation, a rival, announced an $820 million investment round recently. Uber bought new Aurora shares.
Embark Trucks went out of business in March. It was sold in May. Now, only Aurora, Torc Robotics, and Kodiak Robotics are left. TuSimple decided to sell its U.S. business on June 28.
Waymo And Daimler Will Continue Work On Redundant Chassis
Waymo will continue collaborating with Daimler Truck on a second frame for the Waymo Driver platform. If the truck’s handling, brakes, or other systems fail and there is no driver, a backup is necessary.
Mawakana and Dolgov wrote that they see a significant future commercial opportunity for our trucking solution alongside other commercial applications of the Waymo Driver.
Waymo is not very active currently. However, Daimler Truck continues to collaborate with them. Last week, CEO Martin Daum said that Waymo and Torc, acquired by Daimler in March 2019, are the top contenders in driverless trucks.
Waymo Via has entered into a partnership with Uber Freight for last-mile delivery and trucking solutions. This partnership is expected to help accelerate the autonomous future of logistics and transform the trucking industry using autonomous trucks and a greater level of utilization and efficiency.
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