Thursday, 22 February 2018

Uber and Waymo reach settlement

Waymo robotaxis

Uber has settled a lawsuit alleging that it ripped off self-driving car technology from Google’s autonomous vehicle division.

Under the surprise deal, the ride-hailing service will pay Waymo, which is part of Alphabet, Inc., a stock settlement valued by Waymo at $245 million.

Both confirmed the settlement early Friday, four days into a federal court trial in the case. Waymo said it accepted an offer from Uber that included Uber agreeing to ensure Waymo technology isn’t used in Uber’s autonomous vehicles.

uber

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a printed statement that the company doesn’t believe trade secrets made their way from Waymo to Uber. He also says Uber is making sure its self-driving vehicle research represents only Uber’s work, though he expressed “regret” for his company’s actions.

Waymo charged in its lawsuit that former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick teamed up with ex-Google engineer Anthony Levandowski to steal LIDAR laser sensor technology, which serves as the eyes of self-driving vehicles.

Waymo alleges that Levandowski heisted eight trade secrets from Google before he departed from the company in January 2016. He founded his own startup, Otto, which Uber bought a few months later for $680 million. Kalanick has acknowledged discussing plans for Otto with Levandowski before he started it, though both he and Uber deny using any Google technology to build a fleet of self-driving cars.

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