Waymo Partnering With Lyft On Self-Driving Technology

Waymo Partnering With Lyft On Self-Driving Technology


Waymo, an autonomous auto technology project under Google's parent company Alphabet, confirmed to the New York Times that it has entered into a deal with Uber rival Lyft.

Lyft is joining forces with Google's automotive business to develop self-driving cars, company officials said. "Waymo holds today's best self-driving technology, and collaborating with them will accelerate our shared vision of improving lives with the world's best transportation", a Lyft spokeswoman said in a statement. The judge ruled that the company's claims of patent infringement were "meritless" and that Waymo has "overreached, in attempting to claim ownership over general principles and approaches in the field".

The case hinged on files that Waymo engineer Levandowski allegedly stole before he left the company.

US District Judge William Alsup approved of Uber's move last month to demote the engineer leading its self-driving unit to keep him away from related laser technology and safeguard secrets that Waymo alleges were stolen.

Alsup made these rulings last Thursday, but release of details to the public was delayed while Uber and Waymo reviewed documents for sensitive information.

Lyft, which is now only second to Uber in the ride-sharing service sector, could see a significant boost in its self-driving vehicle project as a result of aligning with the Google-backed company. Levandowski set up his own firms, which then were sold to Uber for $680 million.

Levandowski, however, is not a defendant in the civil case and he also refused to testify in the case asserting his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.

The high-stakes case now will proceed to evidence exchanges between both sides and will go to trial if not settled, Tobias said.

At stake is the direction of Uber's self-driving vehicle program, which its chief executive officer has said is the key to the company's future. But after this deal, it is expected to improve its position considering the fact that Uber is now caught in many controversies since the beginning of this year.

Levandowski formed Ottomotto, a self-driving vehicle startup, on January 15, 2016. But he added these claims are "the kind of thing the U.S. Attorney or Federal Bureau of Investigation would be interested in".

Also Monday, Waymo confirmed that it is teaming up to test autonomous vehicles with Lyft, Uber's main ride-hailing competitor, in a potential challenge to Uber.

  • Terrell Bush