Uber has just taken a major blow that will no doubt shake the foundations of the successful ride hailing company. A federal judge has just ordered that Uber can no longer use the technology established by one of their star engineers from before he stopped working with Waymo. The judge’s ruling is without a doubt a huge success for Waymo, the autonomous car unit that spun off from Google.
Waymo was able to present tons of concrete evidence that their former engineer, Anthony Levandowski downloaded tons of restricted files from the company before he left. Anthony then created his own firms which were all sold to Uber for a breathtaking $680 million dollars. To further put Uber’s success in a tailspin, they were able to prove that Anthony and Uber planned this move together before he ever left Waymo.
Waymo sued Uber back in February pointing out that the riding company was using stolen technology. One of the stolen tools Uber was using was called Lidar. It’s a navigational tool that robotic cars use to see what’s around them. As of the judge’s ruling, Uber’s days using this technology are done.
As of May 31, Uber will have to return all the stolen files back to Waymo. Uber has also been ordered to remove Levandowski to have any role in their own Lidar innovations. This is to prevent him from copying anything.
Though Uber is going to be shaken by the court order, it is too early to tell if they’re going to be completely crippled by these results. Certainly it will prevent them from developing a self driven car before Waymo. Furthermore, Waymo has made an announcement that will further throw Uber out of the loop. They have stated that their partnering with Lyft to test out autonomous vehicles. In case you didn’t know, Lyft is Uber’s biggest competitor.