Transportation News

Fate of Uber and Otto’s Autonomous Vehicles

Google's Waymo autonomous tech lawsuit against Uber and specifically against Anthony Levandowski, a former Waymo employee who left the company to start autonomous truck driving firm Otto, which Uber purchased for nearly $700 million, looks really bad for Uber.

Uber Resources

Companies

  • Today’s pace of change is mind-blowing. Digital innovation is propelling the marketing industry forward faster than ever before. At Google, we use research, analysis and insights to stay ahead and created Think Insights to share all of this and more with you. www.google.com/think

  • We are Otto, the company rethinking the future of transportation - starting with self-driving trucks. We’re a team of forward-thinking technologists and innovators, dedicated to revolutionizing the way we approach transportation in America. We’ve come together from the world’s most forward-thinking…

  • Uber is evolving the way the world moves. By seamlessly connecting riders to drivers through our apps, we make cities more accessible, opening up more possibilities for riders and more business for drivers. From our founding in 2009 to our launches in over 70 cities today, Uber’s rapidly expanding…

  • Company Quicklook

As reported by Jalopnik, Uber’s year hasn’t gone well.

But it could get much worse, if it ends up on the losing side of a case filed by Google’s self-driving car project, Waymo.

And the case, which alleges Uber’s autonomous driving system designs were created as the result of brazen theft by a former Waymo employee, doesn’t look good for Uber at all.

Uber’s been roiled by one controversy after another - from allegations of sexual harassment, to video evidence of its CEO acting like a jerk, to the alleged use of a tool in the ride-hailing company’s app specifically aimed at subverting regulators - but it’s the lawsuit filed last month by Waymo that’s currently front-and-center.

The suit, in essence, asserts that Uber’s future is grounded by self-driving system designs that were stolen by Anthony Levandowski, a former Waymo employee who abruptly left the company in January 2016 to start an autonomous truck driving firm, Otto, which was later purchased by Uber for nearly $700 million.

Read: A note on our lawsuit against Otto and Uber - Waymo Team

Anthony Levandowski, Co founder at Otto

The suit claims that Uber’s future is grounded by self-driving system designs that were stolen by Anthony Levandowski, a former Waymo employeePictured: Anthony Levandowski, Co Founder at Otto

According to the complaint, between November 2015 and January 2016, before leaving Waymo, Levandowski downloaded nearly 10 GB of design files - about 14,000 in all - and left the company.

Uber may have a defense to mount in court, thanks to the quiet purchase of a small autonomous tech firm in 2016 by Otto.

But a more complete timeline of Levandowski’s involvement with Uber has emerged in recent weeks - and it doesn’t look particularly good for the ride-hailing start-up.

The most recent report comes from Bloomberg Businessweek, which goes into exceptional detail behind the case and is well worth a read.

But there’s a few documents that appear to significantly bolster Waymo’s case, stemming from new documents entered by the Google self-driving project in court.

In particular, the written testimony of Pierre-Yves Droz, the co-founder of 510 systems (a smaller tech-firm founded also by Levandowski), stands out.

Here’s Pierre-Yves Droz:

Mr. Levandowski personally told me in January 2016 he was interested in implementing long-range LiDAR at his new company and was thus interested in the [REDACTED] design which is not available in any commercially available LiDAR system that I know of. I distinctly remember taking a walk around our Mountain View office one-on-one with Mr. Levandowski on or around January 5, 2016. During this walk, he told me specifically that he wanted his new company to have a long-range LiDAR, which is very useful for self-driving truck applications he was interested in. He also told me that he planned to “replicate” this Waymo technology at his new company.

Levandowski resigned from Waymo on January 27, 2016.

More from Pierre-Yves Droz:

This conversation did not surprise me. Mr. Levandowski had previously told me, in or around the summer of 2015, that he had talked with Brian McClendon, an Uber executive involved with their self-driving car project. We were having a dinner at a restaurant near the office, and he told me that it would be nice to create a new self-driving car startup and that Uber would be interested in buying the team responsible for the LiDAR we were developing at Google.

Recode also reported this week that Levandowski apparently started working for Uber much sooner than anyone previously knew.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, according to Recode, hired Levandowski as a consultant to Uber’s self-driving car project just weeks after he left Waymo to start Otto, which officially formed Feb. 1, 2016. Levandowski was spotted at Uber’s Pittsburgh office that same month, Recode says.

Read: The Inaccuracy of the Term “Uber for Trucking”

To put it lightly, that’s strikingly weird. In what’s supposedly a billion-dollar race to constructing efficient, safe self-driving vehicles, Levandowski was actively working for someone who was supposed to be a competitor? Why? Uber didn’t officially purchase Otto until August 2016.

A more detailed timeline of the situation has been compiled here. But overall, the case has the potential to derail Uber’s self-driving endeavor, and soon, if a federal judge overseeing the case agrees that Waymo’s suit warrants issuing a preliminary injunction.

Uber has until April 7 to respond to Waymo’s request for the injunction, which would prevent the company from using the allegedly stolen self-driving tech while the case proceeds.

Source: Jalopnik

Read: Uber Plans to Take Waymo Self-Driving Car Tech Theft Case to Arbitration

Related: Truckers Prepare For Era of Driverless Trucks

View & Download All White Papers On: Autonomous Vehicles

Article Topics
Trends   Transportation   Motor   Autonomous Vehicles   Robotics   All topics


Comments
Be the first to post a comment.
You must be logged in to post a comment. Login.

 
Latest Transportation News
XPO Logistics Expects 750,000 European “Last Mile” Home Deliveries in 2018
XPO Logistics has used rapid-fire acquisitions to grow from a $175 million truck brokerage company in 2012 to a $15.38 billion freight and logistics behemoth, but its European expansion, for now, is being…

Speed and Service is Driving Ecommerce Growth to Asia Pacific
Omni-channel disruptor SEKO Logistics says retailers and etailers that react fastest to the shift in consumer behavior and meet customers’ expectations for speed of delivery and returns earn the highest…

Attaining Supply Chain Visibility Doesn’t Have To Be an Overwhelming Task
Supply chain visibility will be a weighty topic in 2018, as the industry acclimatizes itself to new levels of supply chain control, however, the question is no longer whether visibility is essential for…

Transportation Management Systems Market 2018
As capacity tightens and freight rates rise, both new and established TMS vendors are coming up with solutions that fit the smaller shipper’s budget while also offering all of the bells and whistles…


 

24|7 Pro Team

The 24|7 Team is your direct pipeline to solutions for your business challenges. It's your opportunity to have supply chain and logistics experts look at your specific challenges and needs, and give you free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information.

The 24|7 Team will simplify the task of creating a database of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your Request for Proposal list.

1
  Choose a topic for your RFP

Transportation RFP/RFI

The Transportation RFP is your direct pipeline to solutions for your transportation challenges. It's your opportunity to have logistics experts look at your specific transportation challenges and needs, and give you free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information specific to your request.

Choosing the perfect software or system can be an indomitable challenge. Using this transportation/TMS RFP will simplify the task of creating a database of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your Request for Proposal list.

Warehouse/DC Management RFP/RFI

The Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) RFP is your direct pipeline to solutions for your WMS challenges. It's your opportunity to have logistics experts look at your specific WMS challenges and needs, and give you free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information specific to your request.

Choosing the perfect WMS solution can be an indomitable challenge. Using this WMS RFP will simplify the task of creating a database of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your WMS Request for Proposal list.

Supply Chain RFP/RFI

The Supply Chain RFP is your opportunity to have logistics experts look at your specific challenges and needs, and receive free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information. It simplifies finding a pool of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your Request for Proposal list. The companies in the Logistics Planner have agreed to respond to your request for in-depth information and follow-up, and your request is totally confidential.

Software/Technology RFP/RFI

The Software/Technology is your direct pipeline to solutions for your logistics information technology challenges. It's your opportunity to have logistics experts look at your specific technology challenges and needs, and give you free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information specific to your request. Whether it's WMS, TMS, Mobile or Cloud, our pros can help.

The companies listed below have agreed to respond to your request for in-depth information and follow-up. Your request is totally confidential.

Executive Education RFI

The Logistics and Supply Chain Education RFI can help you identify the schools, coursework, continuing education, distance learning and certification opportunities available from leading logistics educational institutions.

Upgrade and improve your logistics and supply chain skillsets. Whatever route you choose—advanced degree, executive education, certification or distance learning—the time and money you invest in your education today can pay off in continued career success tomorrow. Contact leading universities and professional institutions for the information you need to prepare for the future.

Third Party Logistics RFP/RFI

This 3PL Request for Proposal (RFP)/Request for Information (RFI) can help you find the 3PL and 4PL providers that can meet your specific 3PL service challenges and needs. The 3PL companies below will provide free, no-obligation third-party logistics advice, solutions, and information.

Ask your 3PL questions, you'll get answers. Simply complete the information, and detail your 3PL challenges. Then, check off the third-party logistics companies that you want to review your request.

1. Choose an RFI topic.
2. Enter your contact information and challenge.
3. Select companies and optional categories.
4. Submit.


2

Your Information



Your Challenge, Problem or Request *

3

Select Transportation Companies

  • Select All

  • 3Gtms
  • BluJay Solutions
  • CSX Trans. Intermodal
  • Kuebix
  • Landstar
  • Legacy Supply Chain Svs.
  • One Network
  • Pitt Ohio
  • Purolator
  • Quintiq
  • SEKO Logistics
  • SMC3


Select Relevent Categories

  • Air Freight
  • Intermodal
  • Motor Freight
  • Ocean Freight
  • Rail Freight
  • TMS

Select Warehouse/DC Management Companies

  • Select All

  • 3PL Central
  • Apex Supply Chain Tech.
  • Honeywell Intelligrated
  • Kuebix
  • Legacy Supply Chain Svs.
  • Swisslog
  • Westfalia Technologies
  • Zebra Technologies


Select Relevent Categories

  • Auto ID & Data Capture
  • Automation
  • Conveyors & Sortation
  • Lift Trucks
  • Packaging & Labeling
  • Pallets & Containers
  • Shelving & Racking
  • WMS

Select Supply Chain Companies

  • Select All

  • 3Gtms
  • 3PL Central
  • Amber Road
  • Apex Supply Chain Tech.
  • APICS
  • BluJay Solutions
  • CSX Trans. Intermodal
  • Frontier Business
  • Kuebix
  • Legacy Supply Chain Svs.
  • Logility
  • One Network
  • Purolator
  • Quintiq
  • SMC3
  • Synchrono
  • TAKE Supply Chain
  • Westfalia Technologies
  • Zebra Technologies


Select Relevent Categories

  • Global Trade
  • Inventory Management
  • Risk Management
  • Sustainability

Select Software/Technology Companies

  • Select All

  • 3GTMS
  • 3PL Central
  • Apex Supply Chain Tech.
  • BluJay Solutions
  • Honeywell Intelligrated
  • Frontier Business
  • Kuebix
  • Logility
  • One Network
  • Quintiq
  • SMC3
  • Swisslog Logistics
  • Synchrono
  • TAKE Supply Chain
  • Zebra Technologies


Select Relevent Categories

  • ERP
  • Sales & Operations
  • Sourcing/Procurement
  • Optimization
  • Transportation Mgmt
  • Warehouse Mgmt

Select Executive Education Choices

  • Select All

  • Graduate Courses
  • Online/Distance
  • Executive Education
  • Certifications
  • Undergraduate
  • Seminars
  • Associations
  • Conferences
  • Tradeshows


Select Third Party Logistics Companies

  • Select All

  • 3PL Central
  • Landstar
  • Legacy Supply Chain Svs.
  • Purolator
  • SEKO Logistics
  • Westfalia Technologies


4
 

24|7 Company Profiles