Today one can hardly believe that Google and Uber driverless car developers are actually former friends. Moreover, in February 2017 accused its today’s adversary of having stolen the autonomous car technology that was originally developed for Google’s money.
Waymo’s current executives have become extremely suspicious when several months after Anthony Levandowski had left the company, several other top employees followed his example. The subject of Google’s suit is an accusation that the company’s former team members have stolen the technology laying in the base of lidar laser sensors needed by driverless cars for mapping the surrounding space.
Google seriously believes that Uber and its new startup of self-driving trucks Otto are using the intellectual property that was developed for Google’s money. In its turn, Uber is ready to conduct its own investigation to find the truth.
Former executive accused of a theft
Anthony Levandowski was one of the specialists who had stood behind Google’s driverless vehicle program from the very beginning. However, in early 2016 the top executive decided to leave the company and start up his own project – Otto. Finally this startup became an acquisition of Uber, and Levandowski received $680,000,000.
Being impressed by Otto’s successes – one of the company’s self-driving vehicles managed to travel 120 miles in driverless mode, which was proven by Uber’s video in May 2016 – Waymo got suddenly suspicious about that short period of time that Otto needed to develop its own LiDAR unit. Today Waymo assumes that Mr. Levandowski had taken a great number of confidential files, drafts, blueprints and other important documents before leaving Google.
The company knew nothing about the theft until a suspicious email was finally found. It contained Uber’s laser sensor drafts and they were so similar to what Google had previously done! Moreover, Waymo also accuses a number of other Google’s employees who followed Levandowski and left Waymo for Uber. These specialists, according to the claimant, had access to some confidential information, too, and could use it for their new employer.