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Lyft, Waymo Sign Collaboration Deal On Self-driving Cars

16 Mai 2017

Uber must return files it stole to Waymo, Google's self-driving unit. Alsup also ordered Uber to ensure that Levandowski is kept away from working on Lidar, which is one of the key pieces of technology behind the project. This is thanks to a ruling by a judge in San Francisco in which the judge has ordered Uber to return the confidential files back to Waymo, stating that there is compelling evidence that former Waymo engineer Anthony Levandowski "pilfered" thousands of documents before leaving the company.

The case is based on Levandowski allegedly stealing files from Waymo before he left the company to bootstrap a startup called Otto, which Uber later acquired for $680 million in August 2016.

"The bottom line is the evidence indicates that Uber hired Levandowski even though it knew or should have known that he possessed over 14,000 confidential Waymo files likely containing Waymo's intellectual property", Alsup wrote.

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Alsup also ruled that Uber must by next month complete an investigation into the downloaded Waymo documents and provide Waymo with a comprehensive log of written and spoken communication between Uber and Levandowski regarding Lidar. "Waymo holds today's best self-driving technology, and collaborating with them will accelerate our shared vision of improving lives with the world's best transportation", it said. The companies are revealing very few details about deal to launch self-driving vehicle pilots. Not all of Waymo's 121 asserted trade secrets indeed qualify as trade secrets, he added.

The ruling did not shut down Uber's self-driving auto lab entirely, which would likely have been a major blow as the company is betting its current ride services network will eventually rely on self-driving cars.