Lior Ron, cofounder of Uber’s self-driving truck company Otto, is leaving Uber, several news outlets are reporting. Ron was also working on Uber’s Freight platform.
The pending departure comes as Uber grapples with a fatal accident in Arizona involving one of its self-driving cars, an incident that grounded its autonomous efforts. Uber was running self-driving tests in the state with both sedans and trucks. The company had recently made public some test cargo runs that its trucks were making via the Freight platform.
A report from the New York Times last week revealed that Uber was having trouble reducing disengagements. The accident marks a serious setback for Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who is trying to turn the company around after a year of controversy.
But it’s not only Uber that will likely be affected by the accident. Regulators will now face pressure to ensure that autonomous cars are being tested safely.
An Uber spokesperson sent me the following statement: “We remain fully invested in and excited about the future of Uber Freight. Since launching in Texas, we have introduced Freight to all states in the continental U.S. We believe it will continue to grow as we use our network and technology to transform the trucking industry.”