Waymo, Google's self-driving company presents new evidence in battle against Uber
11 March 2017
Waymo, Google's driver-less vehicle business, has offered new evidence in support of allegations that a former manager stole its technology and sold it to Uber to help the ride-hailing service build its own robot-powered vehicles.
Waymo, set up eight years ago by Google, sought to build its case on the basis of sworn statements filed yesterday, in a San Francisco federal court.
According to Google, Waymo manager Anthony Levandowski conceived a scheme to filch key trade secrets before leaving the company early last year to launch an autonomous vehicle startup that he had been discussing with Uber.
It also comes as the latest allegation in the battle started which last month, with Waymo suing Levandowski and Uber for alleged theft of the technology for ''LiDAR,'' an array of sensors that enabled self-driving cars to see what was around them so they could safely navigate roads.
According to experts a successful LiDAR system typically took years to develop.
After he quit Waymo, Levandowski started a self-driving truck company called Otto that Uber bought for $680 million to push an expansion into autonomous vehicles.
Uber sought to dismiss Waymo's claims as ''a baseless attempt to slow down a competitor.''
Waymo, asked the court yesterday to block Uber's work on a competing self-driving vehicle that Waymo claimed could be using stolen technology.
According to Gary Brown, Google's security engineer specialising in forensics, Levandowski searched Google's network in December 2015 for login details to a document repository for ''Chauffeur,'' the internal code name for the driverless car project.
With the help of special software, Levandowski gained access to the repository and proceeded to download over 14,000 files, or about 9.7 gigabytes of data, according to the declaration. A few days later, Levandowski attached a memory card to his laptop for eight hours Brown said.
In his declaration, Brown said Levandowski, along with former Google employees Sameer Kshirsagar and Radu Raduta, accessed a Google Drive folder containing company files and exported documents about suppliers to a personal device. He added, soon thereafter, they left the company for Otto.