Uber and Waymo Made a Settlement Regarding Self-Driving

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Uber and Waymo settled on self-driving

Uber and Waymo came to a settlement over claims that Uber stole trade secrets from the self-driving company. The settlement money caused Uber to give Waymo a 0.34 percent Uber stake. That is amounting to approximately $245m.

The company also agreed to never use Waymo’s technology in its self-driving cars. Although they insisted that they never did.

Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s chief executive felt regret on how their company handled the issue. In a statement, he said to Waymo, “While we won’t agree on everything going forward, we agree that Uber’s acquisition of Otto could and should have been handled differently.”

Otto was a self-driving trucking company co-founded by former Google employee Anthony Levandowski. In 2016, Uber acquired it for $650m.

The deal came four days after Travis Kalanick, former Uber chief executive, took the stand in San Francisco federal court. He was accused of plotting a plan to steal 14,000 confidential files from Waymo. Those files were acquired when the firm was still a part of Google. But now, it is already owned by Alphabet, Google’s parent company.

The jury was shown internal emails referencing demands from Mr. Kalanick. He wanted “pound of flesh” from Google. Mr. Kalanick said that he used the phrase from “time to time”.

A visitor’s pass for Mr. Levandowski was also used as an evidence. The pass was dated at a time he was still working at Google.

Uber’s defense was that there was no proof they had used any of the disputed secrets in their technology.

Mr. Khosrowshahi said, “We do not believe that any trade secrets made their way from Waymo to Uber.”

He added, “Nor do we believe that Uber has used any of Waymo’s proprietary information in its self-driving technology, we are taking steps with Waymo to ensure our Lidar and software represents just our good work.”

Details of the secrets were not made public, however, it was discussed in closed sessions in front of the jury.

Waymo sought damages against Uber which could have totaled more than $1 billion or an injuction.