Uber 'divided' over self-driving car unit's future after pedestrian death: report

The future of Uber’s efforts to develop self-driving car technology is in doubt, months after one of the ride-sharing service’s autonomous vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona, according to a report Monday.

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Uber officials, including CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, are said to be “divided” as to whether the company should continue efforts to develop the technology in-house, or seek to partner with outside companies in the space, the New York Times reported. Some executives support a sale of Advanced Technologies Group, Uber’s self-driving technology arm.

Khosrowshahi, who was reportedly “energized” about Uber’s self-driving efforts mere days before the fatal accident, is undecided about how to pursue with the unit. Uber is one of several companies, including Google and Tesla, exploring autonomous vehicle technology.

“Right now the entire team is focused on safely and responsibly returning to the road in autonomous mode,” Uber said in a statement. “That’s our number one objective, and we have every confidence in the work they are doing to get us there.”

The debate is unfolding even as Uber prepares to file an IPO and become a publicly-traded company. The ride-sharing giant is currently valued at $62 billion.

Federal safety officials said in May that Uber’s self-driving car identified the pedestrian seconds before the fatal March 18 accident, but failed to determine it needed to stop. Uber shut down its self-driving car operations in Arizona after the incident.

Uber also shuttered its effort to develop a self-driving truck in July, but said at the time that it planned to focus all of its efforts on autonomous cars.