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Waymo is pausing its By way of self-driving truck division

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Waymo is pausing its efforts to develop autonomous truck know-how to refocus on ridehailing companies as an alternative. The Alphabet-owned firm announced today that it’s going to “push again” the timeline on its business and operational efforts for trucking and also will be scaling again improvement within the unit. A small variety of staff have been laid off on account of the choice.

Waymo’s trucking unit, also called Waymo By way of, sat alongside its Waymo One robotaxi division. Taken collectively, they characterize the corporate’s efforts to commercialize its autonomous driving know-how. Now the timeline and the way forward for its autonomous vans are in query.

The information follows reporting earlier this yr that Waymo would “barely” delay its By way of timeline after laying off an unknown number of employees. However the information appeared particularly unhealthy for the trucking division, with sources telling TechCrunch that Waymo By way of was on the chopping block.

Waymo plans to proceed to work with Daimler (the mother or father firm of Mercedes-Benz) on the event of a driverless truck. The corporate additionally plans to proceed improvement of its Driver product as a system that may be scaled to several types of autos (now not particularly vans). Daimler and Waymo had originally connected in 2020 with a purpose to construct “SAE Stage 4 vans.”

“We proceed to develop a generalizable Driver that may be utilized throughout quite a lot of automobile platforms and purposes over time — together with trucking,” Waymo spokesperson Katherine Barna mentioned. “We’re growing a generalizable Driver, persevering with our work on freeway, persevering with our partnership with Daimler Truck — all of which is able to assist us to be prepared to face up our trucking efforts when the time is true.”

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In the meantime, in California, state legislators will soon vote on a invoice that might require actual human drivers to be current always within autonomous vans, which the business mentioned could be a loss of life sentence for driverless vans within the state. Consultants beforehand predicted that self-driving semi vans would turn out to be a factor earlier than robotaxis because the know-how and problems have been considered a lot less complicated.

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