Saturday, April 22, 2017

Waymo says Uber hid a LiDAR device based on its technology

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Alphabet’ self-driving division submitted the documents to court in an effort to convince a federal judge to ban Levandowski from working on Uber’s self-driving project. It says it only discovered the device after one of Uber’s engineers was forced to admit its existence, something Matt Kallman, a spokesperson for the beleaguered ride-hailing firm, strongly denied.

Kallman told Bloomberg that his company made the device available to Waymo from the start, so it could inspect and even photograph it as part of court-ordered information sharing. He further clarified that it’s merely an abandoned project that didn’t even reach prototype stage. Waymo’s sudden focus on the device, he told the publication, “represents a strategic pivot… and a retreat from its original claims.”

In previous statements, Uber said it never touched any of the 14,000 files Levandowski allegedly stole and that it’s been working on a LiDAR system before he came onboard. Further, it said its LiDAR system, whch isn’t even ready for us, has a single-lens design that’s vastly different from Waymo’s multi-lens tech. The device mentioned in the court documents apparently pertains to a second LiDAR technology that more closely resembles Waymo’s. We’ll know next month whether the accusation is solid enough to sway a federal judge once preliminary injunction hearings begin.

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