Uber to Waymo: we aren't using your robocar laser beam secrets
- Author: Essie Rivera Apr 08, 2017,
Apr 08, 2017, 5:34
Last year, he quit Google to found a self-driving truck company, Otto, which was later bought by Uber.
Uber responded Friday to a lawsuit filed by Waymo, the Google self-driving project that spun out to become a business under Alphabet, calling it meritless and "demonstrably false". Instead, Uber agreed to dig deeper into its computer servers to look for files that the ride-hailing company's lawyer said haven't been found. Uber also agreed to interview employees to help find the files. This is the first big lawsuit in the self-driving auto world, and things are getting a bit interesting right now, and they could spell out the future for automated vehicles.
The suit claims that Uber is using Lidar technology that was actually developed by Google's self-driving vehicle group and stolen by an ex-Google employee. "And no wonder - Uber's LiDAR was developed by a different team, using a different beam pattern, and leveraging different know-how". 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. "Waymo doesn't meet the high bar for an injunction, which would stifle independent innovation and competition". It also says that if Waymo was so concerned, it shouldn't have waited for five months to file an injunction. In its original lawsuit, Waymo says the LIDAR design in question was accidentally sent to one of its employees in a mistakenly CC'd email from Uber.
Saying Waymo "could not be more wrong" in accusing Uber of copying its technology, Uber on Friday attempted to show a court how different its self-driving vehicle sensors are from its rival's.
Waymo said that its suspicion that Levandowski and other former employees had taken secrets about its LiDAR system were confirmed in December when a third-party vendor mistakenly emailed Waymo designs for a LiDAR circuit board being used by Uber.
On Wednesday, Judge William Alsup warned that "I've never seen a record this strong in 42 years", referring to Waymo's body of evidence against Uber, according to Reuters.
Uber says it doesn't have the proprietary information and wouldn't need it anyway, since it's using off-the-shelf technology for lidar sensors while it works on its own system.
Anthony Levandowski at the Uber Advanced Technologies Center on September 13, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. "Specifically, for purposes of Waymo's motion for preliminary injunction, the Court should issue an adverse inference that the downloaded files were and continue to be used by Uber in the development of its custom LiDAR system".
Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving company, claimed on Monday that Uber violated a court's order to produce any and all documents in its possession that so much as mentioned information from the 14,000 confidential files allegedly downloaded by autonomous-car engineer Anthony Levandowski before he left Alphabet.
Uber's LiDAR is a four-lens design, with two lenses for transmitting laser light and two for receiving it.
"If you can not find them in your files there is going to be a preliminary injunction". Your guy should return-he's not denying it, you're not denying it, no one on your side is denying that he has the 14,000 files.
Uber Technologies' robocar project director wants his company to be spared from having to turn over certain documents in Waymo's trade-secrets theft suit, saying he's vulnerable to criminal prosecution.