SAN FRANCISCO: Uber said it “will likely” have to strike a licensing deal with Waymo or opt for costly changes to its autonomous driving software, after an expert found the ride-hailing giant still used technology from the Alphabet unit.
While it was unclear by when the company needed to decide on its next move in the blockbuster trade secrets dispute, Uber, in a quarterly securities filing on Tuesday, said that a detour in its software development “could limit or delay our production of autonomous vehicle technologies.”
Uber has been racing to catch up to Waymo in the development of software and hardware to install in cars and trucks to allow for driverless taxi and delivery services.
The expert review of Uber’s software was part of a legal settlement reached in February 2018 that brought to an abrupt halt a federal jury trial over whether the company unfairly benefited from confidential ideas allegedly secured by making former Waymo engineers key members of its self-driving car team.
Waymo began as a project within sister company Google a decade ago, while Uber launched its effort four years ago.
Waymo told Reuters in a statement that the independent software expert’s findings “further confirm Waymo’s allegations that Uber misappropriated our software intellectual property. We will continue to take the necessary steps to ensure our confidential information is not being used by Uber.”