Today is starting one of those battles that sooner or later had to appear, a battle that seems long and painful as it has to do with the technology involved in the development of cars and autonomous driving systems. Waymo, the newly founded independent car company based on Alphabet (Google), is suing Uber and its Otto truck company for stealing confidential information and key technology.
Specifically, Wyamo is suing Anthony Levandowski, an engineer who worked at Google and left the company to set up Otto, and which today is a top executive at Uber. Levandowski is believed to have stolen 14,000 confidential documents owned by Google , documents with technical details about the hardware used by Google to manufacture autonomous driving systems.
It all started with an email sent "accidentally"
Among the documents stolen are various circuit board diagrams, details on the use and placement of the radar, as well as the modifications implemented to the LIDAR sensors. The interesting thing about all this is that Waymo learned of this theft through an email addressed to Uber by one of its suppliers, mail in which they were copied "accidentally".
In that mail, you could see one of the diagrams elaborated by Google for the modifications in the plate of the sensor LIDAR. Therefore, Waymo decided to start an investigation on its own, which already have the first results and is serving as a basis for the lawsuit.
Waymo explains that six weeks before his resignation, Anthony Levandowski installed specialized software on his laptop, which served him to access one of Google's design servers. Once inside, it downloaded 9.7 GB of information in more than 14,000 files highly confidential and with commercial secrets of the company. At the end of the download, the information was saved on an external hard drive, and later, Levandowski formatted his laptop with the aim of erasing his tracks and leaving no trace.
But Levandowki would not have been the only one, since, according to Waymo, they have also discovered the participation of former employees of Google , who are now part of Otto and Uber, who would also have downloaded confidential information regarding the development of the personalized LIDAR sensor. This stolen information includes vendor lists, manufacturing details, and work orders with technical details.
Waymo believes that with all this information Uber is developing LIDAR sensors based on the secret designs created by Google . They are even claiming that by viewing e-mail schemes, Uber and Otto are infringing a large number of LIDAR technology patents granted to Google and now owned by Waymo.
What Waymo is looking for with this lawsuit is to block Uber and Otto for the use of autonomous driving technology, in addition to demanding that all stolen material be returned to them. In the coming days Uber is expected to respond to these accusations, where he will at best reach an agreement with Waymo to use this technology, but analysts believe that Uber will fight because it is his own technology, which will lead us to a Long legal battle.