Uber denies theft of Google's self-driving technology

Uber is testing a driverless taxi on the streets of Pittsburgh

A lawsuit filed in February of this year claimed that former Google employee Andrew Levandowski had stolen 14,000 documents relating to the company's work on LiDAR, a key technology in driverless cars.

Otto's founder, Andrew Levandowski is a former Google employee who resigned and was eventually accused of stealing more than 14,000 documents pertaining to the self-driving vehicle technology.

Despite the various internal technology developments, Uber also claims that it has only ever used commercially available lidar sensors in the self-driving cars that it has put on the road.

Transportation company Uber has said that a request for a preliminary injunction by Google's former self-driving vehicle division Waymo is a "misfire".

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Nevertheless, Uber does admit that it has found itself in a tricky legal position, because Levandowski has asserted his right to remain silent regarding the allegation that he downloaded 14,000 Waymo files before becoming an Uber employee. This is because, in a recent court hearing, he invoked the Fifth Amndment, which allows U.S. citizens to refuse to disclose any information which could put them at risk of self-incrimination.

"You're not denying it, no one is denying he has the 14,000 files".

Waymo alleges Levandowski plotted his betrayal to Uber while he was still an executive at the Google unit.

In the meantime, Uber has filed for a motion to arbitrate the case, arguing that because Waymo's case is entirely predicated on actions Levandowski allegedly committed during his employment, it should be bound by his employment agreement. Uber says its in-house lidar design was set by its roboticist Scott Boehmke, who named the project "Fuji", according to Friday's filing.

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With all of that in mind, Uber denies that it has infringed any of the Waymo patents cited in the infringement suit, and its lawyers argue that there is no rationale for the court to grant the Google affiliate's demand for an injunction.

Waymo offered a different take on Tyto's origins in a court filing this week: It said Levandowski secretly formed Tyto in 2014 while he was working for Waymo.

Before Levandowski defected from Google early past year start Otto, Waymo alleges he downloaded more than 14,000 documents containing trade secrets that is now helping Uber. Among other things, Uber says its LiDAR uses four lenses for transmitting and receiving laser lights as opposed to the single lens in Waymo's version.

"Frankly, we obviously have a conflict here", Uber's attorney Arturo Gonzalez said to Judge Aslup during a closed-door hearing last week.

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