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Self Driving Truck Market Loses Leader

image of self driving truck

Waymo is tapping the brakes on the self driving truck market and shifting most of its capital, resources and talent to one commercial bet: ride-hailing.

The move, which was announced Wednesday in a company blog post, comes six years after Waymo first tested its autonomous vehicle system in Class 8 trucks. The company emphasized the decision was driven by the commercial opportunities in applying its autonomous vehicle technology to ride-hailing.

Robotaxis (or ride-hailing using driverless vehicles) have always been a centerpiece of Waymo’s plans. However, many AV developers pivoted to logistics and delivery because it was viewed as the better nearer-term economic bet. Even Waymo got into the action and ramped up its delivery and trucking development.

Now the company is doubling down on ride-hailing.

“Given the tremendous momentum and substantial commercial opportunity we’re seeing on the ride-hailing front, we’ve made the decision to focus our efforts and investment on ride-hailing. We’re iterating more quickly than ever on our technology by pushing forward state of the art AI/ML, and seeing significant business growth and rider demand in San Francisco, Phoenix, and Los Angeles,” the blog from co-CEOs Dmitri Dolgov and Tekedra Mawakana reads.

As a result, Waymo will “push back the timeline” on its commercial and operational efforts on trucking, as well as most of the technical development on that business unit, Dolgov and Mawakana wrote. While Waymo insists it still intends to apply its autonomous vehicle system to trucking, it didn’t provide further details on when it might renew the program or launch a commercial business.

The vast majority of employees on Waymo’s trucking team have taken other roles within the company. A few number of individuals will be affected by the change but will be helping with the wind down of the program. Waymo did not provide further details on exactly how many people may be impacted.

For the complete article on the self driving truck market CLICK HERE.

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