For Travis Kalanick it was an “existential” challenge. The Uber-Founder was always firmly convinced of the importance of autonomous driving. From his point of view, the technology was an indispensable step towards becoming a platform group that would move the world with driving services and robotic cars. The hope for the future peaked in 2016 when Uber put its fleet of self-driving cars on the everyday traffic in Pittsburgh with a lot of PR efforts.
But then everything turned out differently. An Uber robotic car ran over a passerby and fatally injured her. Kalanick was removed from the company after numerous scandals and allegations of sexual harassment. The negative headlines did not want to tear off.
Now Uber is separating from its Advanced Technologies Group (ATG), which took care of autonomous driving. The company is even adding $ 400 million to get a 26 percent stake in the start-up Aurora. Go away, that’s the message you read from it.
Panning strategy may be painful for Uber, but it is the right step. For one thing, the optimism of the old days has disappeared. So-called Level 5 driving is further in the future than assumed. Even Elon Musk, Tesla-Chef and notorious optimist, sees all newly produced vehicles equipped with fully autonomous driving technology in ten years. For the restless billionaire, that’s an exceptionally long period of time.
There are various technical problems, but the biggest one is the money. The Uber division ATG wrote deep red numbers, in the most recent quarter it was 104 million US dollars – with a turnover of only 25 million dollars. Using the product commercially is not that easy.
Uber’s new strategy makes more sense