Lyft, Waymo Sign Collaboration Deal On Self-driving Cars


The order is a blow to Uber as it fights to keep its crucial self-driving auto program alive in the face of allegations that it stole Waymo's designs for the Lidar sensors that help autonomous vehicles navigate the road.

A judge in Alphabet's case against Uber has determined that the ride-hail company can continue operating its autonomous efforts as is so long as Anthony Levandowski, the executive at the center of the suit, is barred from any and all work related to the radar in question.

Both companies face a bitter foe in Uber, and are seizing the moment as their rival stumbles.

The case is Waymo LLC v. Uber Technologies Inc., 17-cv-00939, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco). The judge did not order Uber to stop any of its research, however, other than not allowing Levandowski or any other Uber employee from using or consulting the allegedly stolen files.

Last week Judge Alsup also took the rare step of referring the case to federal prosecutors for an investigation of possible criminal misconduct, deepening the surrounding turmoil.

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The fact that Waymo is working with a driving based service already has led to the belief that the company will be ready to debut its self driving cars much sooner than previously anticipated. Lyft, which is privately valued at $7.5 billion, doesn't have the resources to invest in self-driving vehicle technology. Waymo said the partnership would let its technology reach "more people, in more places". That's when David Drummond, Google's representative on Uber's board, retired from the position.

The tie-up has significant potential implications for both Uber and Waymo, which are now locked in a dispute over self-driving technology secrets that the Alphabet-owned group said were stolen by a former executive and subsequently used by Uber. The company had sought to shut down Uber's autonomous vehicle program completely until the dispute is settled.

Reliable sources familiar with the deal told Washington Post, "We can confirm that we are partnering with Waymo to safely and responsibly launch self-driving vehicle pilots", a Lyft spokeswoman said in an email.

Last March General Motors invested US$500 million in the company and then in May said they would work together to test self-driving electric Chevrolet Bolts on the roads.