Uber settles driverless car case with Alphabet-owned Waymo

Uber settles driverless car case with Alphabet-owned Waymo

Uber settles driverless car case with Alphabet-owned Waymo

Uber settled a lawsuit Friday that was brought against it by Waymo, Google's self-driving auto company, ending a year-long skirmish over stolen trade secrets at the heart of autonomous vehicle technology.

The settlement announcement on Friday was made just before the fifth day of testimony was about to begin at a jury trial in San Francisco federal court. But in the grand scheme of things, it's still a relatively small figure for Uber, which has value of $72 billion. Years ago, Google was tightly aligned with Apple.

Khosrowshahi also acknowledged that "Uber's acquisition of Otto could and should have been handled differently".

As we change the way we operate and put integrity at the core of every decision we make, we look forward to the great race to build the future.

Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and the board view this as a win internally, this person tells us.

During Kalanick's second day of trial testimony, Waymo sought to portray him as so eager to improve Uber's lagging autonomous vehicle business that he did a deal with Levandowski without properly assessing the risks.

In a statement released shortly after the Friday court session concluded, Kalanick said: "had the trial proceeded to its conclusion, it is clear Uber would have prevailed". "The evidence at trial overwhelmingly proved that, and had the trial proceeded to its conclusion, it is clear Uber would have prevailed".

Most notably, the settlement reflects the difference between Uber's old and new leadership.

Waymo's lawyers are trying to show that Uber didn't want to really understand the risk it was taking with Levandowski and Otto.

At the heart of the debate is one of the hottest trends in tech: self-driving cars.

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Uber is still facing an ongoing criminal probe as the result of questionable activities that its former and current employees were alleged to have engaged in, possibly including illegal wiretapping, hacking, and more.

Waymo alleges that Levandowski heisted eight trade secrets from Google before he departed from the company in January 2016. While the technology is sophisticated, it is available for purchase from suppliers such as Velodyne.

After almost a week of closely watched courtroom drama, Judge William Alsup reportedly announced the settlement in court on Friday to the disbelief of all in attendance.

The price of the settlement may have been the clincher. Uber had rejected those terms, it said.

Previous year cast a particularly dark cloud over Uber, whose service is much loved but whose corporate culture was found to be lacking.

But things began to change in 2014 when Kalanick heard rumors that Google meant to challenge Uber with its own ride-hailing service.

Former Uber engineer Susan Fowler accused Uber in a blog post of being a toxic place for women to work, a charge that ultimately led Kalanick to resign under pressure from investors.

Alphabet's Waymo had filed the suit after discovering its former top engineer, Anthony Levandowski, had downloaded 14,000 files before leaving Alphabet's self-driving division, Waymo, to start his own company. But when asked about the Otto acquisition and the hiring of Levandowski, Kalanick was understated. He founded his own startup, Otto, which Uber bought a few months later for $680 million.

New cars come equipped with safety systems. The settlement also includes an agreement "to ensure that any Waymo confidential information is not being incorporated in Uber Advanced Technologies Group hardware and software", a Waymo representative said.

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