Alphabet's Waymo self-driving car unit sued Uber Technologies and its autonomous trucking subsidiary Otto over allegations of theft of its confidential and proprietary sensor technology. Fred Katayama reports.
Alphabet's self-driving car unit Waymo is suing Uber and its autonomous trucking subsidiary Otto. It accuses them of stealing its Lidar sensor technology. Lidar uses light pulses reflected off objects to gauge their position on the road. It is a crucial component of self-driving systems. Waymo says it's also one of the company's most valuable assets. Both companies have one thing in common - executive Anthony Levandowski. He used to work on Google's self-driving project, and, later founded Otto, which was bought by Uber. Waymo says Levandowski downloaded over 14,000 confidential files, including Lidar circuit board designs, allowing Uber and Otto to fast-track its self-driving technology. Gene Munster of Loup Ventures. (SOUNDBITE) GENE MUNSTER, MANAGING PARTNER, LOUP VENTURES, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It's normal for tech companies to sue each other for intellectual property theft. We saw that with issues with Google and Oracle back with Java. Samsung and Apple is another example. But this one is more acute. And the allegations of downloading nine gigs of data. That could be a problem for Uber in a sense of their ability to move forward with their self-driving car initiative, which is gonna be how Ubers are gonna be done ten , twenty years from now. Think of this as essentially setting Uber back one year." Waymo is seeking an unspecified amount of damages and a court order preventing Uber from using its proprietary information.