Lyft and Waymo reach deal for driverless car technology

Bill Pugliano  Getty

Bill Pugliano Getty

A U.S. judge ordered Uber Technologies Inc to promptly return any files that had been downloaded and taken from Alphabet Inc's Waymo self-driving vehicle unit but said the ride-services company could continue work on its autonomous auto technology. A spokesperson of Lyft stated that as Waymo provides the best self-driving technology now, the Lyft Waymo collaboration will help in accelerating their visions to provide the most efficient transportation facility.

Waymo has already been testing 100 of its vehicles on public roads in 2017, and last month it announced that it would be adding a further 500 vehicles to its fleet, and that it would let members of the public to test them out. The companies confirmed the partnership on Sunday. Waymo claims the information made its way into Uber's Lidar system.

Last week Alsup took the rare step of referring the case to federal prosecutors for an investigation of possible criminal misconduct.

"As an early rider, you'll be able to use our self-driving cars to go places you frequent every day, from work, to school, to the movies and more", said Waymo.

Reliable sources familiar with the deal told Washington Post, "We can confirm that we are partnering with Waymo to safely and responsibly launch self-driving vehicle pilots", a Lyft spokeswoman said in an email.

According to commentators, it is an interesting partnership as it is another piece of the puzzle in addition to Waymo's existing tie-ups with automakers, including Chrysler, and a pending agreement with Honda.

Lyft said that deal was non-exclusive, meaning that it could continue its self-driving partnership with USA vehicle maker General Motors, a Lyft investor.

Google, meanwhile, said it welcomed the court order instructing Uber to promptly return any files downloaded by Levandowski as a Waymo employee, calling the files "stolen documents containing trade secrets developed by Waymo through years of research".

Waymo, an automotive business owned by Google's parent company, is now holding public trials on its own using Chrysler minivans equipped with its technology in Phoenix. Things are about to get really, really interesting in the self-driving taxi race.

Importantly, Alphabet's legal counsel and an expert will also be able to inspect any and all of Uber's current work with this specific type of lidar radar, regardless of whether that results in a prototype.

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