Uber folds self-driving trucks division

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With the new shift, Uber says that where it can, it will move employees from the trucking unit to work on self-driving cars.

Uber on Monday said it is hitting the brakes on self-driving trucks, shifting gears to focus just on autonomous cars.

ONE FOCUS. The move won't affect the employees of Uber's self-driving truck division - they'll just move to the self-driving vehicle division, Eric Meyhofer, Head of Uber Advanced Technologies Group, said in an email statement to TechCrunch. "We believe having our entire team's energy and expertise focused on this effort is the best path forward", Meyhofer said in his statement.

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The purchase netted Uber the talent of Otto co-founder Anthony Levandowski, the engineer who built Google's very first self-driving vehicle.

The transportation giant had been developing the technology since 2016, when it purchased self-driving truck startup Otto for a reported $680 million.

"I know we're all super proud of what the Trucks team has accomplished, and we continue to see the incredible promise of self-driving technology applied to moving freight across the country".

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Uber had unveiled plans earlier this year to integrate manual trucking with self-driving trucks by deploying the former for short hauls and the latter for longer distances.

Levandowski left Uber shortly after Waymo made its accusations. Months later, Waymo and Alphabet (Google's umbrella company) said that Otto's co-founder, Anthony Levandowski, had raided Waymo's design server. The two companies settled the trade secrets case in February, with Uber agreeing to give Waymo some $245 million worth of stock in the vehicle service company.

An internal email obtained by TechCrunch states that employees affected by the shuttering will be moved to Uber's other autonomous vehicle projects such as Uber ATG, which is working on in-house LiDAR technology.

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Uber Freight has become a national operation since launching in May of 2017.