Alphabet's Waymo Accuses Uber of Stealing Self-Driving LiDAR System

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 23, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Google parent company Alphabet's self-driving Waymo car division today filed a lawsuit [PDF] against Uber, accusing the company of stealing its self-driving intellectual property.

    In blog post shared this afternoon, Waymo explains that employees of Otto, a self-driving trucking startup recently acquired by Uber, allegedly stole technical information from Google's autonomous car project, something it equates to "stealing a secret recipe from a beverage company."


    Specifically, former Google employee Anthony Levandowski, who co-founded Otto, is accused of stealing 14,000 confidential files that included data on the laser-based radar system used in Waymo vehicles. Waymo conducted a forensic investigation of Levandowski's former computer after accidentally receiving an email of Otto's LiDAR circuit board, which closely resembled Waymo's design.
    According to Waymo, its LiDAR system is "one of the most powerful parts" of its self-driving technology. Waymo's LiDAR system works by bouncing millions of laser beams off of surrounding objects to create a 3D picture of the world for detecting and avoiding objects.

    Alongside Levandowski, Waymo says other former employees who now work for Otto and Uber downloaded other confidential files ranging from supplier lists to manufacturing details.

    Waymo is asking for an injunction against Otto and Uber to stop the misappropriation of its designs, and it is asking for the return of all trade secret information and for Otto to cease infringing on Waymo patents.

    As Google and Uber fight over self-driving car patents in an increasingly competitive market, Apple is rumored to be quietly developing its own autonomous driving system for use in third-party vehicles.

    Apple was originally said to be working on its own full-fledged vehicle, but later scaled back its plans and refocused on autonomous driving software after internal staff restructuring. Apple has reportedly given its car team until 2017 to "prove the feasibility" of a self-driving car system.

    Article Link: Alphabet's Waymo Accuses Uber of Stealing Self-Driving LiDAR System
  2. macfacts macrumors 68030


    Oct 7, 2012
    Would this be how the iPhone X face recognition is going to work? Using laser based radar on the front of the phone.
  3. Norbs12 macrumors 6502


    Apr 24, 2015
    Mountain View, CA
    That sounds pretty damning...
    Sounds like the have solid evidence.
  4. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
  5. cariacou macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2010
    "We found that six weeks before his resignation this former employee, Anthony Levandowski, downloaded over 14,000 files"
    don't mess with a tech company
  6. Stella macrumors G3


    Apr 21, 2003
    Wouldn't surprise me - über like to operate outside the law in almost every country it operates in.
  7. AngerDanger macrumors 68040


    Dec 9, 2008
    They may be able to steal its LiDAR system, but I'll be damned if anybody is able to make a car as cute as that.

    Cutest Car.gif
  8. Peel macrumors 6502a


    Aug 30, 2004
    Interesting that Google waits until someone with bucks (Über) buys out Otto before suing them.
  9. mikeyteh macrumors member


    Jun 24, 2013
  10. Terrinb macrumors member

    Sep 24, 2015

    I don't know they'll just make the same car and give it a different name. Worked for Google.
  11. szw-mapple fan macrumors 65816

    szw-mapple fan

    Jul 28, 2012
    That is just the most reckless email mistake ever. You would think a company would lock down information that it stole from someone else.

    Or, a Google loyalist "accidentally" leaked it.
  12. 69Mustang macrumors 603


    Jan 7, 2014
    In between a rock and a hard place
    The reasoning is right in the story.
  13. szw-mapple fan macrumors 65816

    szw-mapple fan

    Jul 28, 2012
    Otto only existed as a company for 3 months before being acquired by Uber (May to August 2016). Seems pretty suspicious to me.
  14. Analog Kid macrumors 601

    Analog Kid

    Mar 4, 2003
    This guy will fit right in at Uber. I don't know about their vehicle guidance, but the company itself lacks a moral compass.
  15. JorgTheElder macrumors member


    Sep 9, 2015
    Columbia, MO
    I thought the accidental email that tipped them off was in December, after they were bought by Uber?
  16. Bart Kela Suspended

    Bart Kela

    Oct 12, 2016
    Correct. Your reading comprehension is better than Peel's.

    The recent e-mail triggered the investigation which eventually led to the uncovering of Anthony Levandowski's surreptitious document downloading behavior six weeks prior to his Google departure.

    Crimes can be solved after they have occurred; people are not always caught red-handed. Peel failed to understand this very basic concept.

    You don't need to be caught with your hand in the cookie jar to be unveiled as a cookie thief.
  17. manhattanboy macrumors 6502a


    Jan 25, 2007
    In ur GF's bed, Oh no he didn't!
    Uber is the Bain of my driving existence. Their drivers are reckless always stopping in the middle of the street and making random turns that indicate they have no idea where they are going.
  18. Aston441 macrumors 65816

    Sep 16, 2014
    Is anyone looking into whether all these often invisible lasers starting to bounce around our everyday environments have the potential to cause retinal damage? If not immediately, how about cumulatively?
  19. SteveJobs2.0 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 9, 2012
  20. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Obviously Google waits until there is damage caused, and until there is damage caused by someone with deep pockets. That's what any reasonable company would do. Uber might end up paying for all of Google's development cost.
    If someone steals Google's trade secret (no idea if this is what happened or not, therefore the If), then Google absolutely has the right to make the most of it. They don't have any obligation to take someone to court while it is cheap. They have no obligation whatsoever, neither legal nor ethical, to keep the cost to Uber low. Google has the obligation towards its shareholders to maximise profits, including at the expense of someone illegally stealing trade secrets.
  21. GrumpyMom macrumors 604


    Sep 11, 2014
    Seriously. I feel the compulsion to throw a Pokeball at it.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 24, 2017 ---
    People have always driven like that around here since the advent of GPS's. I've often wondered what weird inexplicable instructions their devices were spewing at them, because goodness knows my GPS's have pulled that crap on me.
  22. geenosr macrumors regular


    Sep 3, 2007
    We all know that it's clear google knows everything about us, and now we know that they can get everything on its (ex) employees too! They really should be the last place someone should try and steal proprietary information from.....
  23. Eorlas macrumors 6502

    Feb 10, 2010
    Uber in general doesn't have a good rep. They're not known for paying their drivers well, they're under investigation for padding the ads for salary estimates, now they've got a former employee claiming essentially an entire HR department is run by some of the scummiest people known to the business, and then this.
  24. miniyou64 macrumors 6502


    Jul 8, 2008
    You mean by subverting government enforced monopolies?
  25. cmwade77 macrumors 65816

    Nov 18, 2008
    The reasoning isn't really obvious in the story, but the linked blog post does explain it.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 24, 2017 ---
    Yeah, unfortunately many people don't understand how Taxi companies prices are often set by city, state and federal lawmakers, which is why the prices get so massively overpriced.

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