Uber fires back at Google spinoff in self-driving car case

Anthony Levandowski

Anthony LevandowskiOtto

Needless to say, things are getting a bit interesting between Waymo and Uber, especially since Waymo's parent company Alphabet is an investor in Uber through their Google Venture company. Testimony submitted by Waymo alleges that Levandowski met with Uber before Otto was founded, although Levandowski said those meetings were to look for investors for his new company.

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.

Uber, one of the largest ride-hailing services, said its autonomous vehicles are now relying on technology developed by third-party companies, such as lidar manufacturer Velodyne.

If the Google lawsuit is successful, Uber could be blocked from using the technology powering its self-driving cars, which are now being trialled in Arizona.

The attorney, Ismail Ramsey, told the judge the agreement between Otto and Uber to share information privately was meant to safeguard the companies from possible litigation around "various issues that arise when an employee moves from one company to another". Waymo's lawsuit accuses Levandowski of downloading more than 14,000 confidential and proprietary files shortly before his resignation. The email included attached machine drawings of an Uber LiDAR circuit board. "Waymo is now asking for Uber to turn over those stolen documents as part of the discovery process in its trade secret lawsuit against its rival".

Uber has said claims it used self-driving technology stolen from Google were "demonstrably false". The six-year-old company hasn't yet figured out how to make humans in the drivers seat work as a profitable business, and it's also tackling everything from food delivery to vertical take off planes. "Waymo doesn't meet the high bar for an injunction, which would stifle our independent innovation - probably Waymo's goal in the first place", she added. Waymo said it then discovered from documents submitted to Nevada regulatory authorities that Uber was developing its own LiDAR technology.

"I did not take any confidential Google/Waymo documents with me upon my departure from Google/Waymo for use at Uber and/or Otto". "This fact alone demonstrates the misguided nature of Waymo's request for "extraordinary and drastic relief", the filing says".

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. Uber officials have stated that they do not understand Mr. Levandowski actions since he is not even a defendant in the lawsuit, and therefore the pledging for the Fifth Amendment seems illogical. Waymo also said Uber's lidar circuit board had a similar design to Waymo. Uber says its in-house lidar design was set by its roboticist Scott Boehmke, who named the project "Fuji", according to Friday's filing.

Uber is expected to file its opposition to Waymo's request for a preliminary injunction on Friday.

Levandowski has invoked the 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination, according to his lawyer, who said Levandowski could face criminal charges.

At the time, Alsup urged Uber's lawyers to present stronger evidence to support their argument.

"It can't be helped".

Kalanick: That is the trillion-dollar question, and I wish I had an answer for you on that one, but I don't.

In court, Alsup said Uber's punishment may be a court order blocking Levandowski from working for Uber's driverless vehicle unit, Otto.

Latest News