In a time when the employment rate in the trucking industry is at an all-time low, Uber recently announced that the company is shutting down its self-driving truck unit. But this doesn’t mean Uber is cutting all ties with the trucking industry.
According to CNN Tech, Eric Meyhofer, who is the head of the Uber Advanced Technologies Group which is the division that oversaw the self-driving truck unit, Uber will be taking its attention away from the self-driving truck unit and refocusing “its self-driving efforts on cars.” Although Uber hasn’t announced just how many employees will be affected by this decision, they did say that their current workers were notified and the company has plans to reassign them to another division.
Uber also has a program that “offers traditional truck drivers a way to find gigs,” however, the company claims this division won’t be affected by the change. The company began testing self-driving trucks back in 2016 when it acquired the startup company Otto. These vehicles were tested in California, Arizona, and on a test track in Pittsburgh. But, the company ran into some legal trouble after acquiring Otto which was founded by a former Google engineer who allegedly stole trade secrets. A legal dispute developed but was soon put to an end after that case was settled back in February.
Aside from that obstacle, the media outlet also stated that Uber has struggled with its self-driving car program as well. Perhaps you remember back in March a video went viral of a driver sitting behind the wheel of one of Uber’s self-driving vehicles. In the video, you see the driver glancing down at their cellphone just before hitting a pedestrian who died as a result of the accident. It appears that incident contributed to Uber halting its efforts in testing its self-driving vehicles. In fact, the company hasn’t tested any vehicles in Arizona since the fatal accident transpired.
Aside from Uber putting more of its attention on one type of self-driving vehicle, the company also stated that it has “taken steps to improve safety and efficiency within the program.” Apparently, 100 people have already been fired who sat behind the wheel of self-driving cars and were replaced with those who “have more technical experience.” The company also hired Christopher Hart, who is a former National Transportation Safety Board chairman as an adviser.
Despite the efforts that are being made by Uber and other companies to help improve the trucking industry overall, there is still room for improvement. Unfortunately, truck drivers are still falling asleep at the wheel despite the fact that ELD’s (electronic logging devices) are now required to be installed in commercial vehicles and others are carrying loads beyond the legal weight limitations reducing their chances of avoiding an accident.
So, if you are the victim of a semi-truck accident that has left you suffering and out of work, contact an Alexandria, LA semi-truck accident lawyer at The Downs Law Firm. Our firm specializes in handling truck accident cases and would be more than happy to assess your incident and determine how much you may be entitled to collect as a result of the unfortunate accident you were involved in. Contact us for more information.
You can reach The Downs Law Firm at:
517 North Washington Street
Bastrop, LA 71220
4214 Hwy 165 N.
Monroe, LA 71203