Waymo Via to Focus on Ride-Hailing Over Autonomous Trucking

Alphabet Unit Pushes Back Timeline on Commercial Truck Effort
Waymo vehicle
Waymo's parent company, Alphabet, is prioritizing financial discipline. (Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg News)

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Waymo, the self-driving unit owned by Alphabet Inc., is slowing the development of autonomous trucking that’s being done by its Via subsidiary.

“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,” the company said in a statement. “We’ll continue our collaboration with our strategic partner, Daimler Truck North America, to advance technical development of an autonomous truck platform.”

The Dallas Morning News reported Waymo was ceasing its pilot runs with J.B. Hunt and Uber Freight that send autonomously operated trucks from Dallas to Houston, according to spokeswoman Katherine Barna

The move comes as Alphabet is prioritizing financial discipline. The company said on July 25 that it promoted Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat to president and chief investment officer, saying that it will stick to the more thrifty culture she has instilled.

Who's Who in the Autonomous Space

Overview of Self-Driving Truck Development

Company Sketches

Click the links to jump to profiles of autonomous companies.

Aurora | Waymo | TuSimple | Gatik | Locomation | Torc Robotics | Waabi | Einride | Plus | Embark | Kodiak Robotics | Robotic Research | Outrider | Pronto

Self-driving technology has taken a step back in the past several years. Autonomous ventures like Waymo have spent billions of dollars in capital only to bring in little, if any revenue. Waymo has made more progress monetizing its robotaxi business than it has in trucking.

Waymo Via has a partnership with Uber Freight to develop autonomous longhaul trucking as a business, making it one of the few self-driving companies that have worked to develop robotaxi technology and highway trucking.

The company said that it’s focusing its efforts and investment on ride-hailing, “given the tremendous momentum and substantial commercial opportunity we’re seeing” on that front.

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