May 24, 2024

Isidra Raneses

Automotive Technology Progress

Uber Acquires Otto To Accelerate Autonomous Vehicle Program

Introduction

Uber has acquired Otto, a company that makes self-driving trucks. The announcement was made on Monday by Otto cofounder Anthony Levandowski. Uber said the acquisition would help it bring autonomous vehicles to market faster than it could alone. “Otto and Uber have agreed that by joining forces, we can build the best self-driving technology in the world and create a seamless experience for drivers and passengers,” Brian Zajac, a spokesman for Uber’s Advanced Technology Group, said in an email statement to Business Insider. “Together we’ll open up a world of economic opportunity, reduce congestion and pollution, and make transportation safer than ever before.” The deal comes after a bitter legal fight with Waymo over trade secrets related to Google’s self-driving car program. Waymo alleged that Levandowski stole confidential files from Google when he left in 2016 and then built them into his own startup called Otto. In May 2017, Waymo sued Uber for $1 billion over those claims. After months of discovery in court, Judge William Alsup issued an injunction requiring Levandowski to be removed from any work on Lidar technology at Uber until the dispute was resolved (or until December 12). It was never resolved because this week’s acquisition effectively puts Levandowski out of reach of Waymo’s lawyers forevermore

Uber has acquired Otto, a company that makes self-driving trucks.

Uber has acquired Otto, a company that makes self-driving trucks.

Otto was founded in 2016 and is located in San Francisco, California. The company was acquired by Uber in 2016 for $680 million. Anthony Levandowski, one of Otto’s cofounders, is now an employee of Uber and leads its self-driving car efforts.

The announcement was made on Monday by Otto cofounder Anthony Levandowski.

Uber has acquired self-driving truck startup Otto, which was co-founded by Anthony Levandowski. The news was announced by Levandowski on Monday night at the Code Conference in California.

Levandowski is a former Google employee who worked on its autonomous car program before leaving in 2014 and starting Otto with Lior Ron and Don Burnette. The company has since garnered attention for its efforts to build self-driving trucks that could be used on highways, where they would be more efficient than human drivers because they wouldn’t need breaks or rest time (as long as you don’t count robots needing batteries).

“As you know from using Uber or Lyft today, when you push a button on your phone an car comes and picks you up within minutes,” Levandowski said onstage at Code Conference. “We want that same experience with self driving technology.”

Uber said the acquisition would help it bring autonomous vehicles to market faster than it could alone.

Uber said the acquisition would help it bring autonomous vehicles to market faster than it could alone.

“We’re committed to making transportation as reliable as running water– everywhere and for everyone,” Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said in a blog post announcing the deal. “To do that, we need self-driving cars.”

Uber has been working on its own self-driving technology for years and currently has about 200 employees dedicated to its program, including veterans from Carnegie Mellon University who helped develop an award-winning autonomous vehicle called Stanley. But Otto has also attracted talent from companies like Google (GOOGL) and Tesla Motors (TSLA), so its expertise will likely be welcomed by Uber’s engineers as well as its coffers.

“Otto and Uber have agreed that by joining forces, we can build the best self-driving technology in the world and create a seamless experience for drivers and passengers,” Brian Zajac, a spokesman for Uber’s Advanced Technology Group, said in an email statement to Business Insider.

Uber and Otto are joining forces to build the best self-driving technology in the world.

“Otto and Uber have agreed that by joining forces, we can build the best self-driving technology in the world and create a seamless experience for drivers and passengers,” Brian Zajac, a spokesman for Uber’s Advanced Technology Group, said in an email statement to Business Insider.

The deal will see Uber’s Advanced Technology Group work with Otto’s team to bring self-driving cars to market as quickly as possible. This will happen through an equity investment by Uber into Otto, but no additional details were provided about how much money was exchanged or what percent stake either company has taken in each other’s business.

“Together we’ll open up a world of economic opportunity, reduce congestion and pollution, and make transportation safer than ever before.”

Uber has acquired Otto, a startup that makes self-driving technology for trucks. The ride-hailing giant has been working on autonomous cars since last year and has already tested its vehicles in Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Arizona.

With this acquisition, Uber will begin integrating Otto’s self-driving technology into its fleet of SUVs. The company said it plans to use the technology as part of its ride-sharing network by 2021 — which would make it one of the first companies able to offer fully autonomous rides to customers.

“It’s all about moving people around town safely,” said Jeff Holden, chief product officer at Uber who led negotiations with Google over mapping tech before being tapped as head of engineering earlier this year.”We’re going through this phase where we’re going from human drivers with an autopilot mode where they can take over when needed,” Holden added.”But soon enough we’ll be able to remove even that level of assistance because our system will be so reliable.”

The deal comes after a bitter legal fight with Waymo over trade secrets related to Google’s self-driving car program. Waymo alleged that Levandowski stole confidential files from Google when he left in 2016 and then built them into his own startup called Otto. In May 2017, Waymo sued Uber for $1 billion over those claims. After months of discovery in court, Judge William Alsup issued an injunction requiring Levandowski to be removed from any work on Lidar technology at Uber until the dispute was resolved (or until December 12, 2017). It was never resolved because this week’s acquisition effectively puts Levandowski out of reach of Waymo’s lawyers forevermore.

The acquisition is a win for Uber. The company has been struggling to beat its rivals in developing self-driving vehicles and this deal gives it access to some of the best talent out there. The Otto division will be folded into Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group (ATG), led by former Google car project director Eric Meyhofer, who will now oversee both teams working on autonomous vehicles at the company.

Uber also gets an intellectual property portfolio that includes patents on LIDAR technology–which uses lasers to “see” objects around a vehicle–and other key components used in self-driving cars. The company will pay $680 million in cash plus stock worth up to another $300 million based on performance targets over time; if all goes well, Levandowski could make more than $180 million from this deal alone!

Conclusion

The deal comes after a bitter legal fight with Waymo over trade secrets related to Google’s self-driving car program. Waymo alleged that Levandowski stole confidential files from Google when he left in 2016 and then built them into his own startup called Otto. In May 2017, Waymo sued Uber for $1 billion over those claims. After months of discovery in court, Judge William Alsup issued an injunction requiring Levandowski to be removed from any work on Lidar technology at Uber until the dispute was resolved (or until December 12, 2017). It was never resolved because this week’s acquisition effectively puts Levaldo out of reach of Waymo’s lawyers forevermore.