Waymo Levels New Charges Against Uber

Google subsidiary suggesting Uber autonomous system will be identical to Waymo's.

by on Apr.24, 2017

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick's company has been hit with a new set of allegations by Waymo.

Uber faces additional charges by Waymo, Google’s autonomous car subsidiary, which has accused the San Francisco-based ride hailing of stealing intellectual property.

In new court filings last week, Waymo claimed that Uber has been developing a secret, secondary self-driving technology that copies digit-for-digit Waymo’s autonomous driving designs.

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In addition, the new complaint from Waymo also claims Uber intentionally concealed this project from the U.S. District Court judge assigned to the case after the Google subsidiary filed its original suit back in February.

“Uber has taken, copied, and used Waymo’s technology. This, along with Uber’s subsequent cover up and violations of this court’s orders, show the need for an injunction in this case,” read Waymo documents filed today in support of its request for an injunction against Uber. The injunction would temporarily halt Uber’s self-driving car program.

(Uber refutes Google’s stolen intellectual property charges. Click Here for the story.)

Waymo also asked the court to stop Uber from using a former Google employee, Anthony Levandowski, in the ride-hailing company’s autonomous vehicle program. Waymo wants Levandowski barred from working on Uber’s autonomous vehicle program because he stole documents, containing Google’s intellectual property.

Uber has denied all of the charges and warned in its own court filings that stopping its autonomous vehicle project could undermine its future prospects.

Waymo's new LiDAR sensors have dropped in price 90% but still cost around $8,000 each.

At the center of the legal battle between Uber and Waymo is a Lidar, or light detection and ranging technology, which is what helps autonomous vehicles navigate.

In the documents filed last week, Waymo cited evidence from a deposition earlier this month which suggests Uber started preparing for possible legal action regarding self-driving car technology and “just two days after Levandowski left Waymo, and probably even before that.”

Meanwhile, Uber said it has extended its internal investigation into sexual harassment claims in its own organization, and a report is now expected by the end of May.

(Click Here for more about the lawsuit.)

Waymo’s initial lawsuit hit Uber as it was grappling with a host of management problems, including complaints about a corporate culture that ignored complaints of sexual harassment by former female employees.

Last winter, a former female engineer at Uber said in a widely read blog post that managers and human resources officers at the company had not punished her manager after she reported his unwanted sexual advances, and even threatened her with a poor performance review.

The ride-hailing firm hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Tammy Albarran, who are partners at the law firm Covington & Burling, to conduct a review of the claims as well as general questions about diversity and inclusion.

However, Holder has yet to interview a number of key figures in the investigation, including top human resources executives. He plans to do so in the coming weeks.

Uber has come under more pressure over the results of its sexual harassment review, particularly after the scandal at Fox News leading to the ouster of its anchor Bill O’Reilly, which, in part, was driven by complaints about a double-standard. Other 21st Century Fox executives had complained that they would have been fired had they behaved as O’Reilly did.

(To see more about the sexual harassment charges, Click Here.)

Uber Chief Executive Travis Kalanick, who is faced criticism for both his personal conduct and management style, called the allegations “abhorrent and against everything Uber stands for and believes in.”

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