Google's Self-Driving Cars are Better, Uber Admits

Has Uber Become the New Tech Business Model

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 auto technology.

Uber is trying to persuade a judge not to issue an order that might stall the development of its autonomous driving technology, and possibly even sideline the head of the project, engineer Anthony Levandowski.

Now, Waymo is trying to thwart that effort by persuading U.S. District Judge William Alsup to block Uber's self-car driving expansion on the grounds that it hinges on a high-tech heist.

Laser-based lidar has emerged as a key technology in the anticipated self-driving vehicle revolution, and in February Waymo had filed a lawsuit accusing Uber and Otto of stealing the ideas behind its "mission-critical" photonic sensors. This is because, in a recent court hearing, he invoked the Fifth Amndment, which allows USA citizens to refuse to disclose any information which could put them at risk of self-incrimination. "Anthony Levandowski is not a defendant in this case. Nor is this an employment dispute between Waymo and Mr. Levandowski", reads the opposition. 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.

With all of that in mind, Uber denies that it has infringed any of the Waymo patents cited in the infringement suit, and its lawyers argue that there is no rationale for the court to grant the Google affiliate's demand for an injunction.


Till date, Uber is not being able to prove or justify its defense against Waymo's allegations and didn't co-operate with the USA district court with the orders related to searching for the 14,00 files in their database system.

The transportation business added that Waymo's central arguments, that former Waymo employees brought thousands of confidential Waymo documents to Uber to build a "copycat" LiDAR and that Uber's system closely mimics Waymo's single-lens design-are "demonstrably false".

The new filing says, "Waymo has not consented to arbitrate this dispute with Uber, and Waymo 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". Among his other comments at Wednesday's hearing, Judge Alsup said: "This is an extraordinary case". "Ultimately, that would be harmful to the public".

Uber filed its response (pdf) at the US District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division on Friday, April 7.

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