Uber has been ordered by a court to return stolen files to Google’s self-driving car company Waymo after an ex-employee stole the information before getting hired on by Uber.
According to Reuters, a judge determined that Uber should have been aware that the ex-Waymo employee was in possession of secret files pertaining to Waymo’s Lidar system for its self-driving car technology. That employee, Anthony Levandowski, is now required to be kept away from any of Uber’s self-driving car work involving a Lidar system.
“The bottom line is the evidence indicates that Uber hired Levandowski even though it knew or should have known that he possessed over 14,000 confidential Waymo files likely containing Waymo’s intellectual property,” the judge, San Francisco’s William Alsup, said in a statement.
For Uber, the bad news is far from over. Alsup is requiring Uber to perform an investigation into the stolen Waymo files and provide the Google-owned company with a record of communication between Uber and Levandowski regarding the Lidar system.
Alsup also ruled that Uber must by next month complete an investigation into the downloaded Waymo documents and provide Waymo with a comprehensive log of written and spoken communication between Uber and Levandowski regarding Lidar. The ride-hailing app is able to continue working on its self-driving car project, however, and the court found that very little of Waymo’s intellectual property had found its way into Uber’s prototypes.
Waymo has now partnered up with Uber’s arch rival Lyft. The company, which is also in partnership with Fiat Chrysler to test its self-driving tech on the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, is hoping to speed up the development of autonomous tech by aligning itself with like-minded companies that are working towards the same goal.