Google parent Alphabet’s Waymo business unit filed a lawsuit claiming that a former employee of Google stole some 14,000 files concerning their lidar-based self-driving navigation system. They claim the former Google employee and founder of Otto, the self driving trucking startup recently acquired by Uber downloaded the information after installing specialized search software on his laptop.
The lawsuit claims that:
“We found that six weeks before his resignation this former employee, Anthony Levandowski, downloaded over 14,000 highly confidential and proprietary design files for Waymo’s various hardware systems, including designs of Waymo’s LiDAR and circuit board. To gain access to Waymo’s design server, Mr. Levandowski searched for and installed specialized software onto his company-issued laptop.
Once inside, he downloaded 9.7 GB of Waymo’s highly confidential files and trade secrets, including blueprints, design files and testing documentation. Then he connected an external drive to the laptop. Mr. Levandowski then wiped and reformatted the laptop in an attempt to erase forensic fingerprints.”
Waymo claims that their lidar system is one of the most powerful parts of its self driving system.