Waymo self-driving prototype
It's an abrupt end to what many felt would become a long legal battle in court. Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving car division, and ride-sharing company Uber have settled a lawsuit out of court, both companies announced last Friday.
In the settlement, Uber agreed to pay Waymo $245 million. The trial had only begun last Monday and it could have ultimately decided which company would pull ahead in the race for self-driving cars.
Although Uber is paying Waymo, Uber admitted no wrongdoing in the end.
Waymo filed the lawsuit against Uber nearly one year ago after the company alleged Uber had stolen its lidar technology. The technology, which stands for light detection and ranging, is essential to self-driving vehicles and allows them to "see" the world. Waymo said Uber essentially bought its way into the technology after former robotics engineer Anthony Levandowski, who worked under Alphabet's Google, left the company abruptly. His former employer alleged he took the lidar secrets and some 14,000 documents before his departure.
Levandowski then started Otto, a self-driving truck manufacturer. Uber purchased Otto for $700 million.
"To be clear, while we do not believe that any trade secrets made their way from Waymo to Uber, nor do we believe that Uber has used any of Waymo's proprietary information in its self-driving technology, we are taking steps with Waymo to ensure our lidar and software represents just our good work," Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in the statement.
However, he did add that the acquisition of Otto "could and should have been handled differently."
According to a statement from Waymo, the two companies also reached an agreement "to ensure that any Waymo confidential information is not being incorporated in Uber Advanced Technologies Group hardware and software."