Self-driving cars will be the next revolution that changes the world, but we’re not quite there yet. Companies have been working on competing technologies, with Alphabet’s Waymo and Uber’s Otto two of the main companies driving the new tech forward. However, in a new Medium post that went up today, Alphabet’s Waymo alleges that Uber stole key technology from the company and used it for its self-driving truck company, Otto.
The lawsuit was filed in a federal court in California today, with engineer Anthony Levandowski named as the engineer who leaked the secrets after he left Google to work for Uber. The lawsuit alleges that Levandowski stole more than 14,000 confidential documents and schematics for circuit boards, radar, and LIDAR technology that is used in self-driving vehicles.
We found that six weeks before his resignation this former employee, Anthony Levandowski, downloaded over 14,000 highly confidential and proprietary design files for Waymo’s various hardware systems, including designs of Waymo’s LiDAR and circuit board. To gain access to Waymo’s design server, Mr. Levandowski searched for and installed specialized software onto his company-issued laptop. Once inside, he downloaded 9.7 GB of Waymo’s highly confidential files and trade secrets, including blueprints, design files and testing documentation. Then he connected an external drive to the laptop. Mr. Levandowski then wiped and reformatted the laptop in an attempt to erase forensic fingerprints
The best part of this new lawsuit? Waymo says that it was alerted to the alleged crimes through a CC’d email from one of its LIDAR component vendors. Apparently, the email contained drawings of an Uber LIDAR circuit board, which highly resembles Waymo’s own confidential and proprietary design.
The lawsuit asks the court to block Otto and Uber from rolling out the self-driving technology currently in use and to return all stolen materials.
[via The Verge]