As it stands there are quite a few companies who are working on self-driving technology, and we’re sure that all these companies have their own way to go about implementing the technology. However Alphabet’s Waymo (which was formerly Google’s self-driving car division) seems to believe that some of these companies might have stolen its technology.
Waymo has recently filed a lawsuit against the likes of Otto and are suing them for allegedly stealing the company’s design for its laser-based radar system. For those unfamiliar, Otto is a self-driving truck company that was co-founded by former Waymo employee Anthony Levandowski. The company was later acquired by Uber, which is kind of how Uber got caught up in this lawsuit as well.
According to the lawsuit, Waymo is claiming that Levandowski had downloaded 14,000 highly confidential files to an external hard drive before he left the company. One of those files was the design of Waymo’s lidar circuit board. According to correspondence between Otto and Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Department of Motor Vehicles that was obtained by Waymo, Otto stated that they are using a custom lidar that was built in-house.
Waymo believes that this is evidence that Uber and Otto are using a circuit board that “bears a striking resemblance” to the company’s proprietary design. Uber and Otto have yet to respond to the lawsuit or offer up a comment, but in the meantime Waymo is seeking damages as a result of this alleged theft.