Web Desk (24 News/ Reuters) — Alphabet Inc’s Waymo self-driving car unit sued Uber Technologies and its autonomous trucking subsidiary Otto on Thursday over allegations of theft of its confidential and proprietary sensor technology.
— Reuters Tech News (@ReutersTech) February 25, 2017
Waymo accused Uber and Otto, acquired by the ride services company in August, with stealing confidential information on Waymo’s Lidar sensor technology to help speed its own efforts in autonomous technology.
“Uber’s LiDAR technology is actually Waymo’s LiDAR technology,” said Waymo’s complaint in the Northern District of California.
Uber said it took “the allegations made against Otto and Uber employees seriously and we will review this matter carefully.”
Lidar, which uses light pulses reflected off objects to gauge their position on or near the road, is a crucial component of autonomous driving systems. Previous systems have been prohibitively expensive and Waymo sought to design one over 90 percent cheaper, making its Lidar technology among the company’s “most valuable assets,” Waymo said.
Waymo is seeking an unspecified amount of damages and a court order preventing Uber from using its proprietary information.
Otto launched with much fanfare in May, due in part to the high profile of one of its co-founders, Anthony Levandowski, who had been an executive on Google’s self-driving project.