dglobalnews.com Uber denies theft of Google's self-driving technology
Published: Thu, April 13, 2017
Markets | By Armando Jensen

Uber denies theft of Google's self-driving technology

Uber denies theft of Google's self-driving technology

Uber Technologies Inc. has an alibi for Alphabet Inc.'s allegations of trade-secrets theft - the ride-hailing company's driverless vehicle technology is completely different from its rival's designs.

Otto's founder, Andrew Levandowski is a former Google employee who resigned and was eventually accused of stealing more than 14,000 documents pertaining to the self-driving vehicle technology.

"To the extent Uber tries to excuse its noncompliance on the grounds that Mr. Levandowski has invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to provide Uber with documents or assistance, Waymo notes that Mr. Levandowski remains - to this day - an Uber executive and in charge of its self-driving auto program".

Waymo had asked U.S. District Judge William Alsup to stop Uber's driverless-car project until the case is settled.

If the Google lawsuit is successful, Uber could be blocked from using the technology powering its self-driving cars.

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Levandowski, the central witness in the case, has sought his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and will not testify, over concerns about the possibility of a criminal case being filed. In fact, Waymo is now in the middle of arbitration with Levandowski - which began in October - whom they accused of using confidential information to poach employees for competing companies.

Waymo filed suit against Uber in February, claiming that a former manager, Anthony Levandowski, stole its patented ideas. "Nor is this an employment dispute between Waymo and Mr Levandowski", reads the opposition. Uber says its in-house lidar design was set by its roboticist Scott Boehmke, who named the project "Fuji", according to Friday's filing. A hearing on Waymo's request for an injunction against Uber is scheduled for May 3. The first is a company called Odin Wave - which Waymo alleges that Levandowski is the owner of - and the second is Tyto Lidar, which Otto acquired in May of 2016.

Lidar sensors bounce light off objects to create a three-dimensional map of a car's surroundings.

Waymo's injunction motion is a misfire: there is no evidence that any of the 14,000 files in question ever touched Uber's servers, and Waymo's assertion that our multi-lens LIDAR is the same as their single-lens LIDAR is clearly false. Uber now says it clarified the filing to explain that the Otto vehicles didn't have lidar at all. As the filing states, Waymo has "not consented" to arbitrate the dispute, and that it can not "be coerced into arbitration simply because the trade secrets that Uber stole and that Uber is using in Uber's self-driving cars happen to come from former Waymo employees". "Ultimately, that would be harmful to the public". "Uber is the defendant in this case, and Uber is responsible for its own misconduct".

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