Uber may be sorry it bought Otto, the autonomous truck startup, for $380 million last year. This week a federal judge in San Francisco ordered Uber/Otto to cease using technology that may have been shoplifted from Waymo – formerly known as the Google self-driving car project.
Not only that, but Judge William Alsup referred the case to federal prosecutors for possible criminal charges. Meanwhile, Car & Driver Magazine claims Otto was testing autonomous trucks on California roadways without the necessary permits.
Rather than send Otto to his room without supper, it appears Uber has locked him in the cellar. On its web site, Uber says it has “retired the Otto name and integrated all of our self-driving efforts into Uber ATG (Advanced Technologies Group).”
According to the tech news outlet Backchannel , Uber was never as interested in autonomous trucks as it was in the LIDAR technology that could advance their efforts to produce a self-driving taxi. In fact after the Otto purchase, Uber put Otto founder Anthony Levandoswki in charge of all its self-driving efforts, including those taxis.
Levandoswki launched Otto with a bang just one year ago. Daimler had demonstrated an autonomous truck and other OEMs were working toward the same […]