Uber, Waymo reach self-driving auto settlement

Uber and Waymo trial ends in settlement

Google's Waymo And Uber Reach Settlement In High-Profile Lawsuit Over Stolen Autonomous Tech

Uber has faced a series of recent struggles, including public accusations of sexual harassment at the company and accusations it used software to thwart government regulators.

Waymo's fight with Uber began in February 2017, when the company learned that Uber's self-driving vehicle project used "highly specialized" LiDAR technology that was identical to its own. That it didn't produce anything before it settled is so far from Uber's innocence having been "overwhelmingly proved" that you have to wonder why Kalanick even bothered to pipe up - who is he hoping to persuade?

Still, according to a person close to the settlement negotiations, the agreement bars Uber from including Waymo's trade secrets into both its hardware and software. And he has introduced a new set of cultural values for Uber, replacing a list created by Travis Kalanick, the former chief executive who was pushed out last June. The texts included snippets such as "second place is first looser (sic)", "burn the village", and a link to a video clip from the 1987 film "Wall Street" featuring a character hailing the virtues of unbridled greed.

A key Uber investor testified on Thursday that the company's board received assurances that due diligence had turned up no problems with a self-driving vehicle startup which Uber acquired, differing from testimony by Uber's former chief executive. "The optics of someone not wanting to incriminate himself in front of a jury in a civil case are bad", Handman said. The U.S. Justice Department opened a criminal probe at the prodding of Alsup, although it hasn't publicly identified the targets of that investigation. This particular case focused on a company called Otto, which was acquired by Uber, that was founded by ex-Googler Anthony Levandowski and is trying to design self-driving trucks.

The files include ones related to LiDAR, a laser-based scanning and mapping technology that driverless cars use to see their surroundings.

The settlement is significantly less than the $1.86 billion Alphabet originally wanted, but it still marks a major victory for the company. As a private company, Uber is valued at around $70billion. Uber later fired Levandowski as allegations against him surfaced.

And Quartz's Alison Griswold says that, after all the drama, there was one person who came out as the victor: Uber's new chief exec Dara Khosrowshahi.

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Waymo had sued Uber a year ago claiming Uber had stolen its trade secrets.

"Instead of gambling that Uber has to fail completely, they're taking a new gamble that Uber will fail in self-driving technology, but want to deploy a self-driving fleet - and be a customer in need of Waymo's technology", Loyola intellectual property law professor Justin Hughes told CNN Tech.

But before the start of the fourth day of testimony, the companies said they reached a deal.

Kalanick was talking out of his ass, of course: the Uber statement says no such thing.

The agreement also comes with a financial settlement of roughly $244 million in stock.

Alphabet had another reason to settle.

Kalanick, who was driven out of the company past year after numerous reports of bad behavior and a series of disastrous public relations blunders (which critics said represented the worst of Silicon Valley's bro culture), also released a statement.

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