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Google Accuses Uber Of Stealing Its Self-Driving Car Secrets

Google's autonomous car unit, Waymo, alleges one of its ex-employees took its self-driving car tech and gave it to Uber.
Posted at 4:33 PM, Feb 25, 2017

The race for self-driving car supremacy is getting ugly.

Google's driverless car project, Waymo, has accused Uber's autonomous car project, Otto, of stealing trade secrets.

In a blog post, Waymo said ex-employee Anthony Levandowski downloaded almost 10 gigabytes of crucial information about its LiDAR system before wiping his computer and leaving for Uber.

LiDAR essentially lets the car "see" the world around it and navigate obstacles. Waymo said stealing that is like "stealing a secret recipe from a beverage company."

Waymo filed a complaint in district court to stop Uber from using the designs and demanded it return any secrets it may have stolen.

In the complaint, Waymo alleges, "as of August 2016, Uber had no in-house solution for LiDAR," but then had its own custom-built system the next year.

And Uber issued a statement, saying it would look into the issue.

The first part of 2017 has been rough for Uber. The company has already faced allegations of sexism and mass boycotts over its response to the Trump administration's travel ban.