San Francisco: A co-founder of a self-driving truck startup Uber bought to rev up its autonomous vehicle efforts is leaving the ride-share company, CNBC reported on Wednesday.
Lior Ron’s profile on career social network LinkedIn indicated that since late 2016, he has been the head of Uber Freight, a service that matches shippers with truckers and sometimes self-driving rigs.
San Francisco-based Uber did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Word that Ron may be departing Uber came less than two weeks after a woman pushing a bicycle across a street in Arizona died after being hit by one of the ride-share service’s self-driving cars.
The governor of Arizona put the brakes on Uber’s self-driving program in that state, citing “disturbing and alarming” dashcam footage from the fatal crash.
Uber put a temporary halt to the program in the US after the March 18 accident, and has opted not to renew its permit to test such vehicles on roads in California.
Arizona and California have been particularly encouraging, hoping that companies developing autonomous technology in those states will create local jobs and facilities devoted to a promising new industry.
The crash has raised concerns about whether lives are put at risk by allowing companies to use public roads as testing ground for self-driving vehicle technology.
But advocates of autonomous cars contend they have the potential to make roads safer by avoiding mistakes made by human drivers.
Uber is among a number of technology and car companies racing toward what some contend is an inevitable future in which vehicles drive themselves.
Ron and co-founders including Anthony Levandowski started Otto in early 2016, which was bought by Uber nine months later in a deal valued at more than $500 million.
Levandowski was a central figure in a blockbuster federal lawsuit filed by Waymo against Uber claiming trade secrets were stolen from the self-driving car project where he worked before leaving to start Otto.
A trial was taking place when Waymo and Uber in February announced a surprise agreement to resolve the legal clash.