What Uber can do with Otto?

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CIOL What Uber can do with Otto?

Ride-hailing giant Uber has acquired Otto and its all-star team which includes ex-leader of Google’s self-driving project, Anthony Levandowski, for approximately $680 million.


According to Bloomberg, Uber doesn’t want to dismantle this team of 91 employees, so Levandowski will lead Uber’s self-driving project, and the existing Otto office in San Francisco will become an Uber R&D center.

Otto has been focusing on self-driving technology that could be fitted into trucks that are already on the road now. In other words, Otto didn’t want to develop its own self-driving vehicles — the startup chose to focus on some sort of self-driving kit instead which fits perfectly into Uber’s strategy as the company doesn’t want to become a car manufacturer. Instead, Uber has been looking at partnerships with existing car manufacturers, such as Volvo, in order to turn their cars into self-driving cars using Uber’s proprietary technology.

Uber has been investing heavily into new transportation sectors in the past year, including food and commercial delivery. Long haul trucking might seem like a huge step for the private firm—valued at more than $60 billion—but it is just another move to make Uber the de-facto brand for all types of transport.


“Together with Uber, we will create the future of commercial transportation: first, self-driving trucks that provide drivers unprecedented levels of safety; and second, a platform that matches truck drivers with the right load wherever they are,” said Otto in a blog post confirming the acquisition.

Combining Otto’s technology with Uber’s massive push in mapping makes Uber stronger than ever when it comes to putting self-driving cars on the road. Uber will also be able to use its huge user base to tap into ride data and improve its mapping solution.

The acquisition comes on the heels of Uber and Volvo announcing a $300 million investment into self-driving. Volvo will provide 100 SUVs to the Pittsburgh research center, which will be deployed on the roads by the end of the month.

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