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May 15, 2017

Uber vs Google: Top engineer is barred from working on key self-driving tech

The legal fight between Waymo and Uber takes another turn, with Anthony Levandowski blocked from working on LiDAR technology.

By Ellie Burns

The latest round in the Uber vs Google fight has seen a top engineer at Uber ordered by a US judge to stop work on key self-driving car technology.

Embattled engineer Anthony Levandowski must be removed from any work relating to LiDAR, a key technology involved in self-driving cars, following a legal suit filed against Uber by rival Waymo.

Waymo, the self-driving car unit of Google parent Alphabet, claims that Uber is using key parts of Waymo’s self-driving tech. Levandowski is at the centre of this legal fight, with the engineer having been involved with Google’s self-driving car project before leaving to start Otto, a company which was later acquired by Uber.what is uber

Waymo claims that Levandowski stole documents from Alphabet, in addition to alleging that the engineer was already in talks with Uber before he left Alphabet.

The injunction barring Levandowski from working on LiDAR is part of an order which was revealed in sealed documents last week. Although Levandowski has said that he will not undertake any work relating to the disputed technology LiDAR, which revolves around sensors, an Uber engineer recently testified that Levandowski communicates with the company’s self-driving boss on a daily basis.

READ MORE: Waymo self-driving tests with public, whilst Uber trial rages on

The order also denied Uber’s request to move the lawsuit into private arbitration and referred the case to the US attorney general. While Levandowski has been barred from working on self-driving tech, Uber has been allowed to continue its work on LiDAR development.

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