Stolen laser tech at center of Google, Uber dispute

| Feb 24, 2017 | Trade Secrets

Uber has been a dominant force over the last seven years, becoming the future of the taxi industry — and in turn, ruining the taxi industry. But there are still plenty of legal questions surrounding the company’s procedures and compliance. One way that Uber is trying to move forward is with self-driving cars. It seems clearer by the day that autonomous vehicles will be the way we travel in the future. Uber is building and testing a fleet of self-driving cars to use on city roads.

But it may be doing so with stolen technology, if a claim made by a partner company of Google, Waymo, is to be believed. Waymo and Google both operate under the umbrella of Alphabet, the much ballyhooed foundation company that was created in 2015.

Waygo alleges that a formoer employee left for Uber with 9.7 gigbytes of data on “LiDAR,” their laser system that allows a self-driving cars computer to have a three-dimensional idea of the world around it. LiDAR allows the self-driving car to see what is going on in every direction, meaning the self-driving car would be able to safely traverse the road as a result of the laser system.

The tech industry is rife with these types of stories. With the incredible amount of secret, valuable data that many tech companies have, it becomes a problem when employees shift around from company to company in a rapid way. We shall see how this story plays out in the coming months.

Source: Chicago Tribune, “Uber using stolen Google technology for self-driving cars, lawsuit alleges,” Michael Laris, Feb. 23, 2017