Google-bred company accuses Uber of self-driving car theft
SAN FRANCISCO — A self-driving car company founded by Google is accusing a former top engineer of stealing pivotal technology that is propelling Uber’s effort to assemble a fleet of automated vehicles for its popular ride-hailing service.
The alleged chicanery is outlined in a lawsuit filed in a San Francisco federal court by Waymo, which began working on self-driving cars eight years ago as a secret Google project. Waymo now operates as a part of Google’s corporate parent, Alphabet Inc.
The complaint cites evidence that Anthony Levandowski, a former manager in Google’s self-driving car project, loaded 14,000 confidential files on a laptop before leaving to start his own company in 2016. Uber subsequently bought Levandowski’s startup, Otto, last year for $680 million.
Uber didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.