Ex-CEO is highlight of second day of trial in which Google’s parent alleges Uber stole trade secrets
.. Mr. Levandowski previously has indicated he will invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Mr. Kalanick has denied any theft in depositions.
.. Waymo attorney Charles Verhoeven showed December 2015 meeting notes from former Uber executive John Bares, then the head of the self-driving program, in which Mr. Kalanick appeared to be singularly focused on lidar, as well as intellectual property.
.. Mr. Bares said the company was burning through about $20 million a month trying to develop reliable autonomous vehicles. Relying on Mr. Levandowski’s assistance would help pare the costs by speeding up development
.. Kalanick’s goal of getting 100,000 driverless cars on the road by 2020
.. Autonomous vehicles are essential to Uber’s business, Mr. Bares said, given human drivers account for 70% to 80% of the cost of operating a vehicle in ride-hailing.
.. Still, he acknowledged Google was and remains the leader in self-driving vehicle technology. “That’s the general perception right now,” he said.
The tech behind Google-Uber legal beef could be ready to boom.. Waymo alleges that six weeks before resigning, Levandowski copied 14,000 confidential files and trade secrets from his company-issued laptop. Among those files were designs for Google’s custom-designed Lidar system, the technology that gives autonomous vehicles their vision... Waymo learned of the alleged theft when a Lidar component supplier inadvertently attached machine drawings of what was said to be Uber’s Lidar circuit board in an email, a design it said is strikingly similar to Waymo’s own unique design... Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk is not a fan, and his aversion to Lidar brings up some questions about how widespread its use will be. He believes radar-based visual systems are better, and is focusing on those for Tesla’s self-driving automobiles. Unlike radar, Lidar cannot penetrate fog, heavy rain, or snow, but radar has its own issues, including difficulty detecting non-moving objects and certain materials such as metallic objects... Rasgon believes that radar in conjunction with cameras may become more widely used than Lidar.“Radar is easier, cheaper, more ubiquitous,” he said in an interview. “Ideally, you would want to use the cheapest solution that you can…The performance is very good in Lidar, but if you can get by with cameras and radar, that is probably the best way to go.”.. Google’s Waymo said in the lawsuit that by designing its Lidar systems itself, it has already driven down the costs; its Lidar systems are now less than 10% of the cost of Lidar systems just a few years ago.