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Uber and Waymo reach settlement, bring legal battle to a close

Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber, has announced that the e-hailing company has reached an agreement with Waymo, with Alphabet’s autonomous division, paying out $245 in the settlement.

“To our friends at Alphabet: we are partners, you are an important investor in Uber, and we share a deep belief in the power of technology to change people’s lives for the better,” said Khosrowshahi in a statement. “Of course, we are also competitors. And while we won’t agree on everything going forward, we agree that Uber’s acquisition of Otto could and should have been handled differently.”

After a long week in court, both Waymo and Uber will be happy to shift their focus back to research and development, finally concluding the legal battle since Waymo first claimed that its ‘trade secrets’ had been stolen for use in Uber’s self-driving technology.

It has been reported that Uber has also agreed to not use any hardware or software from Waymo in the future, which could mean that the company had in fact used these secrets in the past. Most claims of stolen trade secrets surrounded Uber’s acquisition of autonomous truck company Otto, first run by former Google executive Anthony Levandowski.

“There is no question that self-driving technology is crucial to the future of transportation—a future in which Uber intends to play an important role. Through that lens, the acquisition of Otto made good business sense,” Khosrowshahi continued. “But the prospect that a couple of Waymo employees may have inappropriately solicited others to join Otto, and that they may have potentially left with Google files in their possession, in retrospect, raised some hard questions.”

“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.”

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