- REUTERS/Mike Blake
- Lior Ron, the cofounder of a self-driving truck startup Uber acquired and head of Uber Freight, is leaving the company.
- His departure would come after one of Uber’s self-driving cars was involved in a fatal crash, believed to be the first time an autonomous vehicle has killed a pedestrian.
- His departure is unrelated to the crash and he was not working on any self-driving technology in his last role, a spokesperson said.
Lior Ron, a cofounder of a self-driving truck startup Uber acquired who went on to work as the company’s head of freight, is leaving the company, an Uber spokesperson confirmed.
Ron was most recently the head of Uber’s Freight business focused on trucking, and his departure comes in the wake of a fatal crash involving one of Uber’s self-driving cars – believed to be the first time an autonomous vehicle has killed a pedestrian.
An Uber spokesperson said that Ron’s departure is unrelated to the crash, and that he was no longer working on any self-driving car technology prior to leaving. Ron’s departure was first reported by CNBC.
In a statement, they said: “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.”
In 2016, Ron left Google to cofound Otto – a self-driving trucking startup -which was then acquired by Uber. The acquisition of Otto subsequently led to a high-profile lawsuit in which Waymo, Google’s self-driving car sister company, accused Otto cofounder Anthony Levandowski of appropriating trade secrets. Uber ultimately settled, paying Waymo around $425 million in stock.
Since the self-driving car crash in Tempe, Texas, there has been heightened scrutiny of the safety track record of Uber’s self-driving car unit, and questions have been raised over whether the vehicle’s sensors should have been able to detect and avoid the pedestrian. It is a major new hurdle for CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who is trying to improve the company’s image and move it past a string of scandals under the tenure of his predecessor, Travis Kalanick.