Level 17
Two of the biggest names in autonomous vehicle tech go head-to-head in court in San Franciso.
Ride-hailing firm Uber is being sued by Waymo, the self-driving company spun out of Google. At the heart of the case is the accusation that Uber stole ‘trade secrets’ relating to Lidar (light detection and ranging) – a key technology that enables an autonomous car to understand what’s happening around it.

According to the BBC, emails already shown in court detailed Uber’s ex-chief executive Travis Kalanick demanding “pounds of flesh” from Waymo, while others are said to involve him saying he wanted to “find the cheat codes”.

The Waymo v Uber battle has scope to get nasty… and expensive.

Yeah, but no
It’s expected that Uber, which is likely to start its defence next week, will not dispute document theft. Instead it will try to convince the jury that it didn’t use the information in its self-drive project. As a result, it will be crucial for Waymo to prove that not only did Uber have the documents, but that it used them to gain an advantage of some kind.

The case is expected to last about three weeks.

The Big Levandowski
At the centre of a row is Anthony Levandowski, a former Google employee conand a big deal in autonomous vehicle research.

He worked on Google’s self-driving programme before leaving in January 2016. It’s alleged that when he left, he took more than 14,000 confidential documents, including blueprints and other technical information about Lidar.

What’s at stake?
As well as potential for a mega-bucks payout, there’s also the risk of a court injunction to either end, or at least disrupt, Uber’s self-driving research. Given the high-stakes state of the self-drive game and the big money already invested by Uber in this tech, an injunction of this nature could have profound consequences.

Deleted member 65228

Uber deserve it as well, they shouldn't have covered up he hack. Customers should have been notified the same week of the attack and a ransom definitely shouldn't have been paid.

If companies pay the ransom to an attacker/s, what example does this set? It sets the example that attacker's can make bank off threatening large companies with deep pockets, which means all that will happen is the attacks will rise. This is why attackers are constantly doubling/tripling each few years, because when something proves to be successful, it rises until it eventually becomes saturated for one reason or another/more.

If nobody ever paid the ransom then attackers likely wouldn't be as much as it is now except for if the attackers had a different intention other than making money... Like proving a point, pure destruction/just having a screw loose.


Level 18

"A former engineer for Google's Waymo self-driving car division has been indicted on more than 30 criminal counts alleging he stole or tried to steal trade secrets from his former employer.

Anthony Levandowski "knowingly stole, and without authorization appropriated" trade secrets belonging to Google relating to lidar technology used for autonomous vehicles, the US Attorney for the Northern District of California said in an indictment (PDF) unsealed today.

Levandowski began working for Google in 2007 and, at the time of his sudden departure in 2016, was in charge of the company's lidar engineering team. Following his resignation from the company, he launched a self-driving trucking startup called Otto, which he sold a few months later to Uber for $680 million."


Personal note: If convicted, this guy could face 10 years in the slammer plus a 250,000 USD per-count fine, which could be into the millions. Source