AI News, Uber Turns from Google, Teams Up with Carnegie Mellon on Self-Driving Cars

Uber Turns from Google, Teams Up with Carnegie Mellon on Self-Driving Cars

It’s easy to see why Google was so optimistic about Uber, even if we just look at it purely from an autonomous vehicles perspective:the idea of autonomous taxis makes a huge amount of sense—even more than makingautonomous vehicles available directly to consumers.

The question, then, is why Uber has suddently decided to scrapa partnership that seems like it would be mutually beneficial for both it and Google in order toinvest so heavily in its own autonomous vehicle research.According to Bloomberg News, it may be because Google has quietlybeen developing aridesharing app that is in active use by Google employees—although the Wall Street Journal spoke to a Google source who said that the app was designed for carpooling and was not a competitor.

Despite having created fully-autonomous car prototypes, Google has consistently maintained that it doesn’t want to get into the automotive manufacturing business, and that it would be much rather partner with existing manufacturers who want to leverage the robocar technology that Google has developed.

Later in 2010, Google’s autonomous car program was announced, and soon after that,Thrun officiallyleft Stanford to work full time at Google.From what we hear, many, if not most, of the Stanford students with autonomous car experience have also moved to Google.

You get something working in a laboratory like VAIL or NREC, and then once it’s pretty solid, you take it out of the lab and start trying to get it to a point where it’ll work in the real world.After that, you commercialize it so that you can make a whole bunch of money by selling that technology to people like me, who are more than happy to pay you because it makesour lives better.

Google sues Uber over 'stolen' driverless car technology

The search giant, which has been working on driverless vehicles since 2009, has filed a lawsuit claiming Uber stole trade secrets and is using them in its autonomous cars.  If the Google lawsuit is successful, Uber could be blocked from using the technology powering its self-driving cars, which are currently being trialled in Arizona.  Uber responded by denying it stole technology and calling the allegations a "baseless attempt to slow down a competitor".

How a robot lover pioneered the driverless car, and why he's selling his latest to Uber

Waymo, the self-driving car company owned by Google’s parent Alphabet, filed a suit against Uber on Thursday alleging that the ride-share company engaged in the “calculated theft” of its self-driving technology.

The lawsuit, filed in US district court in San Francisco, contains explosive allegations that a former Waymo employee, Anthony Levandowski, plotted to steal Waymo’s technology and trade secrets before leaving to start his own self-driving truck company, Otto.

Waymo says that it spent seven years and significant amounts of money developing its LiDAR – and alleges that Uber’s recent advances in self-driving technology are due to its theft of the Waymo LiDAR design.

“Misappropriating this technology is akin to stealing a secret recipe from a beverage company.” “We take the allegations made against Otto and Uber employees seriously and we will review this matter carefully,” an Uber spokesperson said.

Levandowski downloaded 9.7 GBs of “sensitive, secret, and valuable internal Waymo information” from the company’s secure design server before leaving the company, including specifications for Waymo’s LiDAR circuit boards, according to the suit.

Though Waymo had “grave concern” about Uber’s acquisition of Otto, the company received a surprise on 13 December 2016, when Waymo was apparently inadvertently sent an email from a LiDAR component vendor – apparently intended for Otto.

The suit details the lengths Waymo goes to in order to protect secrets, including purchasing LiDAR components from numerous vendors and completing assembly in-house to prevent any single vendor from knowing everything about the technology.

Waymo alluded to the relationship in its blogpost, writing: “Our parent company Alphabet has long worked with Uber in many areas, and we didn’t make this decision lightly.” Terry suggested that even if Uber is forced to pay a large judgment or settlement to Waymo, the benefit of the information allegedly acquired may have been worth it.

Uber and Waymo Duel at Key Hearing Over Driverless Car Technology

“We’ve interviewed more than 85 Uber employees, and more than 40 attorneys spent more than 6,000 hours reviewing documents, including over weekends,” Arturo Gonzalez, a lawyer for Uber, said.

“After reviewing more than 300,000 documents, we’ve only found one Google email in the files.” The case will be decided by Judge William Alsup of Federal District Court, who is expected to issue a ruling within the week.

At stake is what Uber and Waymo both believe could be a multibillion-dollar opportunity in the transportation industry in which autonomous cars move people around without the need or expense of human drivers.

Mr. Levandowski said last week that he would stop working on Uber’s Lidar system — a shorthand term for light detection and ranging technology, a key hardware component in the operation of autonomous vehicles — for the duration of the case.

The documents also show Uber agreeing to grant Mr. Levandowski more than 5.3 million company shares, with an estimated value of more than $250 million, in exchange for meeting various technical milestones and project goals should he join Uber.

Judge Alsup said Wednesday that Waymo’s lawyers had presented strong evidence that Mr. Levandowski had downloaded troves of valuable information from Google before leaving the company and had tried to erase his tracks after doing so.


In the description of the video, it is noted that the carefully programmed route takes him from his home to a drive-through restaurant, then to the dry cleaning shop, and finally back home.[36][37] In August 2012, the team announced that they have completed over 300,000 autonomous-driving miles (500,000 km) accident-free, typically having about a dozen cars on the road at any given time, and are starting to test them with single drivers instead of in pairs.[38] Four U.S. states have passed laws permitting autonomous cars as of December 2013: Nevada, Florida, California, and Michigan.[39] A law proposed in Texas would establish criteria for allowing 'autonomous motor vehicles'.[40][41] In April 2014, the team announced that their vehicles have now logged nearly 700,000 autonomous miles (1.1 million km).[42] In June 2015, the team announced that their vehicles have now driven over 1,000,000 mi (1,600,000 km), stating that this was 'the equivalent of 75 years of typical U.S. adult driving', and that in the process they had encountered 200,000 stop signs, 600,000 traffic lights, and 180 million other vehicles.[43] Google also announced its prototype vehicles were being road tested in Mountain View, California.[44] During testing, the prototypes' speed will not exceed 25 mph (40 km/h) and will have safety drivers aboard the entire time.

Additionally, the LIDAR technology cannot spot some potholes or discern when humans, such as a police officer, are signaling the car to stop.[61] Google projects plan on having these issues fixed by 2020.[62] In 2012, Google founder Sergey Brin stated that Google Self-Driving car will be available for the general public in 2017,[63] and in 2014 this schedule was updated by project director Chris Urmson to indicate a possible release from 2017 to 2020.[64] Google has partnered with suppliers including Bosch, ZF Lenksysteme, LG, Continental, and Roush, and has contacted manufacturers including General Motors, Ford, Toyota (including Lexus), Daimler and Volkswagen.[24] In August 2013, news reports surfaced about Robo-Taxi, a proposed driverless vehicle taxicab service from Google.[65] These reports re-appeared again in early 2014,[66] following the granting of a patent to Google for an advertising fee funded transportation service which included autonomous vehicles as a method of transport.[67] Paid Google consultant Larry Burns says self-driving, taxi-like vehicles 'should be viewed as a new form of public transportation'.[68] In a December 2016 blog post, CEO John Krafcik stated:[69] 'We can see our technology being useful in personal vehicles, ridesharing, logistics, or solving last mile problems for public transport' but also that 'Our next step as Waymo will be to let people use our vehicles to do everyday things like run errands, commute to work, or get safely home after a night on the town'.

The state of Nevada passed a law on June 29, 2011, permitting the operation of autonomous cars in Nevada, after Google had been lobbying in that state for robotic car laws.[8][9] The Nevada law went into effect on March 1, 2012, and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles issued the first license for an autonomous car in May 2012, to a Toyota Prius modified with Google's experimental driverless technology.[11] In April 2012, Florida became the second state to allow the testing of autonomous cars on public roads,[70] and California became the third when Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law at Google Headquarters in Mountain View.[71] In December 2013, Michigan became the fourth state to allow testing of driverless cars on public roads.[72] In July 2014, the city of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho adopted a robotics ordinance that includes provisions to allow for self-driving cars.[73] In December 2015, the California Department of Motor Vehicles issued long-anticipated proposed regulations governing autonomous vehicles,[74] and invited public comments on the draft regulations at meetings in Sacramento on January 28, 2016, and in Los Angeles on February 2, 2016.[75] If adopted, the regulations would require self-driving cars to have a steering wheel and pedals, and a human driver onboard who holds an 'autonomous vehicle operator certificate.'[76] They would also hold the occupant responsible for accidents and violations of traffic laws, regardless of whether or not they were at the wheel.[77] The DMV summarized its perspective by stating, 'Given the potential risks associated with deployment of such a new technology, [we believe] that manufacturers need to obtain more experience in testing driverless vehicles on public roads prior to making this technology available to the general public'.[78] Lobbying by project manager Chris Urmson from Google in the US Senate is underway to change this.[79] In February 2017, Waymo sued Uber and its subsidiary self-driving trucking company, Otto, for allegedly stealing Waymo's trade secrets and infringing upon its patents.

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