Waymo, Lyft to team up on self-driving vehicles

Uber must return stolen Waymo files can continue self-driving work US judge

But an Uber engineer recently testified that Levandowski communicates with the new self-driving boss on a day-to-day basis.

For Uber, getting ganged-up on by two rivals in autonomous driving comes at a bad time: one of those rivals, Waymo, is suing it, alleging a former Google executive stole some of Google's self-driving vehicle technology and took it to Uber where it has been used to develop Uber's autonomous-driving systems.

As for how this new arrangement could sink Uber, the Times notes that the embattled company is vying with Waymo to roll out autonomous cars, so a joint effort between its two competitors could knock Uber off the top of the ride-share market.

In an email to PennLive on Monday, an Uber spokesperson praised the decision, writing: "We are pleased with the court's ruling that Uber can continue building and utilizing all of its self-driving technology, including our innovation around LiDAR".

"We look forward to moving toward trial and continuing to demonstrate that our technology has been built independently from the ground up", the spokesperson added. US District Judge William Alsup also barred a key engineer from working on a portion of Uber's self-driving auto program.

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A federal judge's order that bars Uber from using technology taken by a star engineer before he left Waymo is bad news for Uber and likely will hurt the ride-hailing company's own self-driving research, according to legal experts.

Waymo sued Uber earlier this year, accusing Uber of stealing trade secrets and intellectual property it had developed related to lidar, the radar-like sensors that self-driving cars use to navigate.

Last week, Alsup referred Waymo's allegations against Uber to the US attorney's office for investigation.

"We're looking forward to working with Lyft to explore new self-driving products that will make our roads safer and transportation more accessible", spokesperson for Waymo, Google parent company Alphabet's self-driving vehicle unit, told PCMag.

Alsup also ordered Uber to remove Levandowski from any role in Lidar, and that it stop him from copying or otherwise using the downloaded materials.

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Levandowski used to work at Google but quit in January 2016 to form his own self-driving truck startup, called Otto.

Uber's self-driving program will live to drive another day.

Despite his harsh words, the judge did not grant Waymo's request for an injunction against Uber. It seems everyone is partnering up to make self-driving cars a reality, and now two of the biggest players in the autonomous race, Waymo and Lyft, are joining forces. Uber tried and failed to move the case to arbitration after Levandowski used the Fifth Amendment to refuse testimony. But the judge, William Alsup, allowed Uber's self-driving research to continue while the case proceeds to trial, a significant relief for the ride-hailing giant.

The case is Waymo LLC v. Uber Technologies Inc., 17-cv-00939, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Waymo's injunction motion is a misfire: "there is no evidence that any of the 14,000 files in question ever touched Uber's servers and Waymo's assertion that our multi-lens LiDAR is the same as their single-lens LiDAR is clearly false", said Angela Padilla, Uber associate general counsel said in a statement last month.

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