Uber Technologies said it never told a self-driving car executive to download files from his former employer, Alphabet Inc's Waymo unit, according to a court filing in a contentious trade secret lawsuit. Alphabet's Waymo claimed in a lawsuit earlier this year that Anthony Levandowski downloaded more than 14,000 confidential files before leaving to set up a self-driving truck company, which Uber acquired soon after. He is not a defendant in the case, but his actions, and what Uber executives knew about them, are at the center of Waymo's lawsuit. High-profile: Levandowski, a'swaggering' six-foot-seven tech leader, is one of Silicon Valley's most significant figures in the development of self-driving cars Alphabet's Waymo claimed in a lawsuit earlier this year that former engineer Anthony Levandowski downloaded more than 14,000 confidential files before leaving to set up a self-driving truck company, which Uber acquired soon after. Many of these documents relate to lidar -- or light detection and ranging -- scanning, one or more lasers sends out short pulses, which bounce back when they hit an obstacle, whether clouds, leaves or rocks.
Alphabet's self-driving unit Waymo said ousted Uber CEO Travis Kalanick knew the company's engineer had Google information, lawsuit documents uploaded by TechCrunch show. Waymo sued Uber earlier this year claiming the startup benefited from stolen self-driving car technology from the Alphabet company. Legal action was taken after Google employees Anthony Levandowski and Lior Ron quit to start their own self-driving vehicle company, Otto. Uber bought Otto three months after it launched for $680 million in August 2016. Waymo claims both engineers stole autonomous technology secrets before they departed the company.
It's been five months since Google self-driving car spinoff Waymo filed its bombshell lawsuit alleging Uber swiped its trade secrets, and as the October court date approaches, the phalanxes of high-powered attorneys on each side are maneuvering into battle formation. But absent a smoking gun, Waymo will attempt to weave together a series of not-so-pretty facts--that Levandowski has asserted his Fifth Amendment right, and that Uber knew about the swiped info before it acquired a company founded by Levandowski--into a narrative that culminates with Uber knowingly stealing self-driving tech. The fight here will focus on a due diligence report, Uber's detailed accounting of its security steps during the Otto acquisition process, when trade secrets might have slipped into the Uber bloodstream. In early 2016, well before Uber officially acquired Otto in August, Uber lawyers say Levandowski told Otto cofounder Lior Ron that "he had found five discs in his home that contained Google information."
Uber has begun to mount its defense against allegations that the ride-hailing company is using technology stolen from Waymo, the self-driving car company spun out of Google. Uber claimed in a federal court filing Friday that it began developing its own self-driving technology in 2015, before it acquired Otto, a self-driving trucking startup founded by several former Google employees. The filing, which opposes a Waymo motion for a preliminary injunction against Uber, contains Uber's most detailed defense to date since Waymo accused it of the "calculated theft" of its LiDAR technology in February. "Both of [Waymo's] central premises – that former Waymo employees brought thousands of confidential Waymo documents to Uber to build a copycat LiDAR and that Uber's LiDAR closely mimics Waymo's single-lens design – are demonstrably false," the filing states. "A cursory inspection of Uber's LiDAR and Waymo's allegations fall like a house of cards."
Uber has fired Anthony Levandowski, the ex-Google engineer at the centre of a major self driving lawsuit. Uber announced the firing of its vice president of technology in an internal email to employees today, and has maintained that its self-driving technology did not copy Google's earlier work. It wanted Levandowski to cooperate in order to help with the case, but the engineer cited his Fifth Amendment rights to avoid possible incrimination. High-profile: Levandowski, a'swaggering' six-foot-seven tech leader, is one of Silicon Valley's most significant figures in the development of self-driving cars In lidar -- or light detection and ranging -- scanning, one or more lasers sends out short pulses, which bounce back when they hit an obstacle, whether clouds, leaves or rocks. In self-driving cars, the sensors constantly scan the surrounding areas looking for information and acting as the'eyes' of the car.