Alphabet Inc. is indefinitely delaying its Waymo Via autonomous trucking unit to focus efforts on robot-driven passenger cars for ride hailing. 

Waymo Via is the latest to head to the sidelines in a shrinking field of autonomous trucking developers.

Waymo’s future in autonomous trucking had been whispered about by competitors since massive layoffs at Alphabet earlier this year. Waymo Via was still operating but on a limited basis.

The trucking unit was added to Waymo’s self-driving car business in March 2020. Waymo in 2016 succeeded the Google self-driving car project that dates to 2009.

The timing of the exit comes less than a week after rival Aurora Innovation (NASDAQ: AUR) raised $820 million in new funding with Uber as the largest purchaser of new Aurora stock. 

The failure of Embark Trucks in March and its sale in May and TuSimple’s June 28 decision to seek a possible sale of its U.S. operations leaves three players in a once-crowded field: Aurora, Torc Robotics and Kodiak Robotics.

“Given the tremendous momentum and substantial commercial opportunity we’re seeing on the ride-hailing front, we’ve made the decision to focus our efforts and investment on ride-hailing,” Waymo co-CEOs Tekedra Mawakana and Dmitri Dolgov wrote in a blog post Wednesday. “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.”

Waymo said it would continue its commitment to work with Daimler Truck on a redundant chassis for the Waymo Driver system.

This is a developing story. 

The post Waymo Via backs away from autonomous trucking appeared first on FreightWaves.

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