In the arms race to fully autonomous vehicles, tensions are expected to rise at times. This week, Alphabet’s self-driving car unit, Waymo, sued Uber and its own self-driving subsidiary, Otto, for allegedly stealing confidential sensor technology.
Waymo says Otto stole information on its LiDAR technology to advance Otto’s own efforts at the expense of Waymo.
“Uber’s LiDAR technology is actually Waymo’s LiDAR technology,” Waymo’s complaint in the Northern District of California reads. The company is seeking an unspecified amount of damages. It has also requested Uber be prevented from using its proprietary information.
“Hundreds of Waymo engineers have spent thousands of hours, and our company has invested millions of dollars to design a highly specialized and unique LiDAR system,” Waymo’s team wrote on Medium. “The configuration and specifications of our LiDAR sensors are unique to Waymo. Misappropriating this technology is akin to stealing a secret recipe from a beverage company.”
Uber says it is reviewing the situation “carefully.”