Google’s Waymo suing Uber over Corporate Espionage


Stealing trade secrets and running away with them to the competition might sound like an overused Hollywood plot, but it turns out it might also be reality. Waymo, the self-driving car company which recently split off of Google is suing a former employee who now works at Uber. He allegedly copied 9.7 GB of confidential data before leaving.

The employee in question, Anthony Lewandowski was a software engineer on Google. And the allegations Waymo is making against him do sound like a movie plot. Around 2015 Lewandowski left Waymo and found his own startup Otto, which also focused on self-driving cars. 2016 Uber hired him. Now Waymo is saying that before leaving, Lewandowski stole 9.7 gigabytes of data or 14,000 files from his company-issued laptop.
The data stolen was on LiDAR which stands for “light detection and ranging” and is essentially a laser that bounces off objects and creates a 3D picture for self-driving cars. In that way they can basically “see” what’s going on around them. Waymo says it is “one of the most powerful parts of our self-driving technology”.
And that’s not all – Waymo claims it learned about the theft from an email that was apparently sent to them by mistake. In it, they found schematics that bore a “striking resemblance” to their own. To put the final twist on the story, Google and Uber have been all but fierce competitors in the past. The company behind the world’s most popular search engine has been a known investor for Uber, pumping hundreds of millions into the company.
Uber is denying the charges at this point in time: “We have reviewed Waymo's claims and determined them to be a baseless attempt to slow down a competitor and we look forward to vigorously defending against them in court,” a company spokesman has said in a statement.

Pic: © Pixabay
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