High-profile driverless truck startup closes down for good

This week, the founder of one of the most high profile autonomous trucking startups announced that he is permanently shutting down operations.

On Thursday, California-based Starsky Robotics founder Stefan Seltz-Axmacher announced that he was closing down operations via a blog post.

Starsky Robotics was found about three years ago. The company’s vision involved the use of autonomous technology to pilot semi trucks on highways and interstates and then allowing truck drivers in a remote location to pilot the truck through city streets to its final destination.

Seltz-Axmacher pointed to several factors behind his reasoning for closing the the company. “Timing, more than anything else, is what I think is to blame for our unfortunate fate. Our approach, I still believe, was the right one but the space was too overwhelmed with the unmet promise of AI to focus on a practical solution. As those breakthroughs failed to appear, the downpour of investor interest became a drizzle. It also didn’t help that last year’s tech IPOs took a lot of energy out of the tech industry, and that trucking has been in a recession for 18 or so months,” he wrote.

Seltz-Axmacher also said that Starsky Robotics had a hard time making their safety features interesting enough for media to cover: “…we couldn’t figure out how to make safety engineering sexy enough to garner its own reporting. And we never really figured out how.”