Judge orders Uber not to use technology taken from Waymo

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A federal judge has rejected Waymo's request to prevent Uber from using allegedly stolen self-driving technology, which is sure to come as a relief to the embattled ride-hailing company.

While New York represents another step forward in terms of the essential real-world testing of autonomous cars, a few curious rules could hinder its overall appeal.

Is Uber lying over how much influence Levandowski had in the development of its self-driving tech?

The deal between Waymo and Lyft will have the two companies working together on pilot program and development of self-driving cars.

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".

They are far from alone in this belief: A handful of other companies - Google and Apple included - have delved into the autonomous vehicle space race, one involving cutting-edge research, huge sums of money, futuristic advancements and, as Waymo's lawsuit alleges, no shortage of subterfuge.

Although Levandowski has said that he will not undertake any work relating to the disputed technology LiDAR, which revolves around sensors, an Uber engineer recently testified that Levandowski communicates with the company's self-driving boss on a daily basis.

Waymo accused Uber of stealing trade secrets from the company to advance its own autonomous-car ambitions. "The court has also granted Waymo expedited discovery and we will use this to further protect our work and hold Uber fully responsible for its misconduct". Waymo claims the information made its way into Uber's Lidar system.

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The judge ordered that Uber must use "the full extent of their corporate, employment, contractual and other authority" to compel Levandowski to return the documents by May 31 at noon.

Waymo's lawsuit contends that Levandowski in December 2015 downloaded more than 14,000 proprietary files from a highly confidential design server to a laptop and took the data with him to the startup.

Uber's self-driving vehicle program is on the ropes, and two of its biggest competitors just announced a tag-team plan to take it down.

Waymo and Lyft announced Sunday that they're working together to launch self-driving auto pilots.

While still at Waymo, Levandowski used his work laptop to search the company's intranet for the terms "chauffeur svn login" and "chauffeur svn eee setup".

Lyft is No. 2 among ride-hailing services in the United States, behind Uber. Waymo said the thief was Levandowski, a onetime star engineer at Google and a guru of autonomous vehicle technology, who joined Uber past year.

This latest maneuver could be partly down to Waymo's increasingly bitter rivalry with Uber, the undisputed ride-hailing king in the US market. The evidence shows that, both before and after his departure, Levandowski and defendant Uber Technologies, Inc., planned for Uber to acquire Levandowski's new companies, defendants Ottomotto LLC and Otto Trucking LLC, and to hire Levandowski as the head of its self-driving vehicle efforts.