Uber Accused of Stealing its Driverless Car Technology From Waymo
Uber’s hopes of moving toward a completely autonomous fleet of vehicles may be dashed, if Waymo, a self-driving car company owned by Google-parent Alphabet, Inc. convinces a federal court it was a victim of “calculated theft.”
An Uber employee stands accused in a San Francisco federal court of swiping laser-scanning designs and technology from Waymo. The intellectual property battle is one of many in the industry.
Waymo’s lawsuit, filed Thursday, claims that Uber’s laser technology, which gives driverless cars 360 degrees of sensory information, bears a “striking resemblance” to Waymo’s own system. That may not be a matter of coincidence, as Waymo spent tens of millions of dollars and seven years designing its Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) system that uses lasers to map objects in three dimensions and 360 degrees. Uber apparently did so in nine months, according to Bloomberg.