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The Race for Autonomy Gets Tighter
August 16, 2023
Source: ACT News
There have been several revelations recently concerning the state of the autonomous vehicle market, with more than one company announcing some sort of departure. From industry giants to smaller startups, the initial sprint to is starting to slow a little.
In a blog post from late July, Waymo Co-CEOs Tekedra Mawakana and Dmitri Dolgov revealed that the tech leader was taking a step back and focusing on the Waymo One ride-hailing project.
“With our decision to focus on ride-hailing, we’ll push back the timeline on our commercial and operational efforts on trucking, as well as most of our technical development on that business unit,” read the post.
While Waymo will continue collaborating with Daimler Truck North America “to advance technical development of an autonomous truck platform,” the company doubled down on its commitments to the Waymo One platform.
“Laser-focusing on ride-hailing today puts us, our partners, and our customers in a strong position to be successful in the future across all of the business lines we pursue over time, showcasing the breadth of the Waymo Driver.”
Other companies have taken more than just a backseat to autonomous trucking, with some slowly closing operations.
Embark, a company developing Level 4 autonomous driving technology since 2016, announced a possible closure in March 2023, but was acquired by Applied Intuition two months later. The autonomous tech company plans to integrate Embark’s tools, data, and software assets to improve its own solutions for the market.
“This acquisition should enable us to advance our products and solve more specific, complex challenges for our customers. We respect the work Embark has accomplished in the autonomous vehicle industry and look forward to leveraging their expertise to better serve our global customer base,” said Qasar Younis, co-founder and CEO of Applied Intuition, in a May 25th press release.
Five years after being founded, Locomotion began winding down Pittsburgh operations this past February due to lack of funding. The announcement came as a surprise, since two week before, the company had hosted an event for shareholders and the press to experience the technology themselves. Argo AI, another Pittsburgh-based autonomous tech company, closed its doors just a few months before, with certain portions of the business being absorbed by its two biggest investors, Ford and Volkswagen.