Anthony Levandowski, former member of Google’s self-driving car program and Otto’s co-founder, will lead Uber and Otto’s combined driving efforts in San Francisco, Palo Alto, and Pittsburgh. He’ll lead ventures involving personal transportation as well as trucking and delivery services. As part of the deal, Otto employees will receive a fifth of profits Uber earns from the self-driving truck division, if certain targets are met.
On its blog, Otto points out a number of problems related to trucking that autonomous technology could improve. Trucks account for nearly 9.5 percent of all driving fatalities, according to government data, although they drive just 5.6 percent of all miles on U.S. roads. Large trucks also create 28 percent of all road pollution, although they make up just 1 percent of vehicles on the road, Otto says. However, a recent article also pointed out driverless trucks could cost millions of jobs.
Otto isn’t the only company working on a self-driving big rig. Mercedes-Benz recently tested three autonomous Actros trucks on the streets of Europe. The trucks traveled for two days from Stuttgart, Germany to Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Uber recently also partnered up with Volvo on autonomous cars. The deal, said to be worth $300 million, involves testing autonomous technologies on a new Volvo base vehicle. Volvo will also provide Uber with 100 self-driving XC90 vehicles to run on the streets of Pittsburgh by the end of the year.
Check out the video below for a look at Otto’s self-driving truck technology. Automobile Magazine