Waymo withdraws number of patent claims against Uber in suit over AV technology

Waymo, the autonomous vehicle business under Google's parent company, withdrew a number of patent claims against Uber yesterday, scaling back some of its major allegations in a bitter lawsuit over driverless technology.

According to a federal court filing, Waymo said it was dropping three of its four claims over Uber violating its patents related to light detection and ranging sensor technology, or LiDAR. LiDAR, a key element in driverless car technology, helped the vehicle detect its surroundings to navigate roads.

According to commentators, the bitter battle  between Waymo and Uber, highlighted the race for autonomous vehicle talent and technology. It was especially significant for Google, now Waymo, which spent years working on driverless car technology.

However, as Waymo looked for a way to make money from self-driving cars, many of its best engineers left for potential competitors, taking valuable knowledge of its technology with them.

According to commentators, the latest development weakened Waymo's original argument for bringing the suit. However, each side claimed the latest legal move a victory.

Waymo said the move was prompted by Uber's halting work on a LiDAR design that violated Waymo's patents and was proceeding with a different design.

Waymo would be able to reassert its claims if Uber returned to the design that Waymo challenged.

Meanwhile, an Uber spokesperson said in a statement, ''Waymo's retreat on three of their four patent claims is yet another sign that they have overpromised and can't deliver. Not only have they uncovered zero evidence of any of the 14,000 files in question coming to Uber, they now admit that Uber's LiDAR design is actually very different than theirs. Faced with this hard truth, Waymo has resorted to floating conspiracy theories not rooted in fact, doing everything they can to put the focus on sensation rather than substance.''