Waymo Is Hitting the Pause Button on Its Self-Driving Truck Plans

The alphabet-owned company, Waymo is reportedly hitting the pause button on its self-driving truck plans and ambitions. The company will now focus on its driverless taxi services and therefore scale back on its Via division as a result, where it has originally planned to make autonomous semi-trucks.

Waymo Self-Driving Truck Plans

Waymo Self-Driving Truck Plans

Waymo is reportedly pausing its efforts to develop autonomous truck technology in a bid to refocus on ride-hailing services instead. The Alphabet-owned company just announced today that it will be “pushing back” the timeline on its commercial and operational efforts for trucking and it will also be scaling back development in the unit. A couple of employees (very small) were reportedly laid off as a result of the said decision.

The trucking unit of Waymo, which is also known as Waymo Via, sat alongside its Waymo One robotaxi division. And when taken together, they represent the efforts of the company to commercialize its autonomous driving technology. And right now, the timeline and the future of its autonomous trucks are up in the air.

Waymo Laying Off A Couple Of Employees

The news follows earlier reports this year that Waymo would “slightly” delay its Via timeline after reportedly laying off an unknown number of employees. But the news in question seemed especially bad for the trucking division, with sources revealing to TechCrunch that Waymo Via was at the time on the chopping block.

Waymo however plans to continue to work closely with Daimler (which is the parent company of Mercedes-Benz) on the development of a driverless truck. The company as you should know also plans to continue the development of its Driver product as a system that can reportedly be scaled to different types of vehicles (and no longer specifically trucks). Both Daimler and Waymo originally had connected back in 2020 with a goal to build “SAE Level 4 trucks.”

What Waymo Has To Say about the Recent Development

“We continue to develop a generalizable Driver that can be applied across a number of vehicle platforms and applications over time — including trucking,” Waymo spokesperson Katherine Barna stated. “We’re developing a generalizable Driver, continuing our work on freeway, continuing our partnership with Daimler Truck — all of which will help us to be ready to stand up our trucking efforts when the time is right.”

Legislators to Pass a Bill That Will Negatively Affect Driverless Trucks in California

Meanwhile, back in California, state legislators very soon will vote on a bill that would require real human drivers to be present all the time inside of autonomous trucks, which the industry has stated would be a death sentence for driverless trucks in the state. Experts prior to this have predicted that self-driving semi-trucks would become a thing just before robotaxis since the technology and complications were thought to be very much simpler in comparison.



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