A look at Uber and Waymo's self-driving cars in :90

Wednesday, 07 Feb, 2018

Waymo painted Travis Kalanick, Uber's ousted CEO, as a cheater desperate to vanquish the competition.

Verhoeven said Kalanick - who was ousted as CEO a year ago amid a move to reform Uber's workplace culture - realized his company was lagging in efforts to develop autonomous technology and made a decision to take a dishonest route.

The lawsuit began due to a mistaken email from an Uber worker, who accidentally forwarded a circuit board that looked a lot like one of Waymo's designs for a self-driving auto.

In their opening statements, Uber's lawyers countered that the company had developed its technology on its own and that any similarities were due to the information being generally known or easy for Uber's engineers to figure out.

The trial had been scheduled to begin on December 4., but Waymo said it learned of new evidence after the U.S. Department of Justice shared it with Alsup.

The jury trial should last for a couple of weeks, with a verdict expected before the end of February.

"This case is about two competitors, where one competitor decided they needed to win at all costs", Waymo attorney Charles Verhoeven said during his 55-minute opening remarks. "That losing is not an option". According to reporters at the first day of the trial, Uber is downplaying Levandowski's role within the company, and Uber lawyer Bill Carmody said that the company "regrets ever bringing Levandowski on board". Alphabet-owned Waymo, the self-driving vehicle company spun out of Google's X moonshot division, filed suit against ride-sharing firm Uber in February 2017. Uber said that Anthony Levandowski - a former star Waymo engineer whom Uber hired and later fired and who is now at the center of the case - was untrustworthy and self-serving. Uber then bought Otto for $680 million in August 2016.

However, Verhoeven did not take time to detail the specifics of the trade secrets that Levandowski allegedly stole - Waymo is set to present eight secrets at trial, a lot of them dealing with its custom LIDAR system that serves as the eyes of its self-driving vehicles.

Carmody interjected: "Of all of those companies, none of them are situated like Uber, where it is directly competing with Waymo" for the ride-hailing market, he told Krafcik.

Levandowski was sacked from Uber in May 2017 because the company said he refused to cooperate with Uber in the Waymo lawsuit and did not hand over information requested of him in the case. Carmody then bizarrely compared Uber to the National Basketball Association champion Golden State Warriors, and noted that Levandowski's arrival was much like the team's 2016 signing of all-star forward Kevin Durant. "All Uber has to show for Anthony Levandowski is this lawsuit".

Uber's lawyer read an email from a Google engineer to Waymo attorneys in October 2016 during their investigation.

Levandowski isn't named in the lawsuit, even though the case revolves around Waymo's allegations that the engineer illegally took thousands of documents from Google to Uber.

"It's all electronics designs, schematics and PCB layouts and the component library for their creation", the email said.

Carmody said evidence would show Google and Waymo were failing to invest enough to keep the most talented staff, enabling Uber to hire them. The internal messages also noted that the lidar technology being developed by Levandowski was essential for Uber's success in self-driving cars and that there was no substitute.

"I want to tell you right up front, it didn't happen".

Unsurprisingly, when Uber's legal team began its opening statement, it wasted no time in rubbishing its rival's arguments. According to internal Uber notes on one meeting that Waymo says concerned the truck startup acquisition, Kalanick hoped to get "source", "all of their data", "IP", and "pound of flesh" out of the transaction.

"Someone who has a witness who thinks he's important wanted a private room: No", he said without naming anyone specific. Uber may ask Krafcik about the exchange to argue the Waymo CEO diminished the engineering talent that migrated to Uber.

Uber has co-founder and former CEO Mr Kalanick at the top of its witness list. Bizarrely, Levandowski also recently founded a religious group he called Way of the Future, which worships an AI god. He was ordered to turn over documents and other information related to the case in March. So far, he's consistently invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself.