Google’s self-driving car offshoot Waymo has accused Uber of using “ Waymo’s intellectual property to develop LiDAR devices,” for its self-driving vehicle prototypes and actively trying to cover up the alleged theft.
Waymo believes the head of Uber’s self-driving car project, Anthony Levandowski, stole documents pertaining a specific kind of LiDAR device after leaving the company to head-up Uber’s similar operation. The system, referred to internally as ‘Fuji’, apparently uses four lenses as opposed to one to help develop a more accurate image. Uber’s similarly designed LiDAR system “infringes Waymo’s patents,” the company says and represents technology that is much too far along in the development cycle for an immature project such as Uber’s. Furthermore, Waymo believes Uber attempted to cover up the devices existence by concealing it on its prototypes.
Now Waymo wants to have Levandowski removed from Uber’s self-driving car project for good. The transportation/technology company has responded by saying the four-lense LiDAR system was never actually used on its test cars and that it didn’t even reach the prototype stage in its development. It plans on releasing a more detailed response to Waymo’s claims on April 28th, just ahead ofa May 3 hearing in regards to the matter.
Waymo is in partnership with Fiat Chrysler to test its self-driving technology on the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan. Waymo isn’t sharing its autonomous car technology with FCA, but the partnership could expand into something greater than FC simply providing it with vehicles if Waymo decides.