MWC

Uber settles its lawsuit with Waymo

Tim Maytom

Uber has agreed to a $245m (£177m) settlement with Waymo in a lawsuit surrounding the theft of trade secrets and research into self-driving car technology. As part of the settlement, Uber will work with Waymo to ensure that the company's LIDAR tech and software represents just the work of Uber's engineers.

The settlement brings to a close the long-running conflict between the two firms, and ends a controversy that no doubt contributed to founder Travis Kalanick being ousted as CEO. Uber's current CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said that he hoped the settlement would help "set the course for the future of the company" and that while he did not believe any of Google's self-driving car research had been used in Uber's own efforts, the various allegations at the centre of the lawsuit "raised some hard questions."

The settlement came just before the fifth day of testimony was due to begin at the case's jury trial in federal court in San Francisco. During prelimary talks last year, Waymo had reportedly sought at least $1bn from Uber, and as recently as last week was seeking a settlement of $500m.

"We have reached an agreement with Uber that we believe will protect Waymo's intellectual property now and into the future," said a spokesperson for Waymo. "We are committed to working with Uber to make sure that each company develops its own technology. This includes an agreement to ensure that any Waymo confidential information is not being incorporated in Uber Advanced Technologies Group hardware and software. We have always believed competition should be fueled by innovation in the labs and on the roads and we look forward to bringing fully self-driving cars to the world."

"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," said Kosrowshahi in a statement.

"While I cannot erase the past, I can commit, on behalf of every Uber employee, that we will learn from it, and it will inform our actiosn going forward. I've told Alphabet  that the incredible people at Uber ATG are focused on ensuring that our development represents the very best of Uber's innovation and experience in self-driving technology.

"As we change the way we operate and put integrity at the core of every decision we make, we look forward to the great race to build the future. We believe that race should be fair - and one whose ultimate winners are people, cities and our environment."