Transportation company Uber has said that a request for a preliminary injunction by Google's former self-driving vehicle division Waymo is a "misfire". The case's outcome could alter the race to build self-driving cars that may transform transportation, reduce traffic deaths and launch a huge new industry.
Uber's attorneys told the judge that they'd "love" to have Levandowski give his account of the case, according to court transcripts reviewed by Recode.
Alphabet alleges that Anthony Levandowski stole 14,000 files from its self-driving auto wing before he left in January 2016 to start the autonomous trucking company Otto, which was purchased by Uber in August for $680 million.
Waymo's attorneys are asking the judge to either compel Uber to produce the documents it claims Levandowski stole, or to assume that the ride-hail company is withholding them because it was using - and is continuing to use - the stolen information to develop its self-driving system.
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Waymo had claimed in February that a former manager, who is now at Uber, had downloaded more than 14,000 highly confidential and proprietary files shortly before resigning.
"There is no evidence that any of the 14,000 files in question ever touched Uber's servers, and Waymo's assertion that our multi-lens LiDAR is the same as their single-lend LiDAR is clearly false". "And no wonder, Uber's LiDAR was developed by a different team, using a different beam pattern, and leveraging different know-how".
Till date, Uber is not being able to prove or justify its defense against Waymo's allegations and didn't co-operate with the U.S. district court with the orders related to searching for the 14,00 files in their database system.
The San Francisco company also states that it began developing the technology before it hired Levandowski as part of the Otto deal, and says that Waymo's allegations would "fall like a house of cards" on even a cursory inspection of its lidar sensor. A hearing on Waymo's request for an injunction against Uber is scheduled for May 3.
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On the other hand, Uber's ground for arbitration is that the lawsuit stems from the actions of Levandowski while he was with Alphabet, and hence it should be covered under Alphabet's employee agreement with him. If a judge rules in Waymo's favor, Uber would have to stop using anything that Waymo included in a list of trade secrets.
After buying Otto, Uber put Levandowski in charge of Uber's self-driving project, a job that has been imperiled by this lawsuit.
Uber has claimed that its self-driving technology is unique and distinct from what Alphabet has created.
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