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Ride-Sharing Uber and Self-Driving Car Firm Waymo Settle Legal Battle

Ride-Sharing Uber and Self-Driving Car Firm Waymo Settle Legal Battle

Ride-sharing giant Uber and the self-driving car company Waymo have agreed to settle their legal battle over allegedly stolen trade secrets.

The surprise agreement Friday came as lawyers for the companies prepared to wrap up the first week of the case’s jury trial in San Francisco, California.

As part of the agreement, Uber will pay $245 million worth of its own shares to Waymo.

Waymo sued Uber last year, saying that one of its former engineers who later became the head of Uber’s self-driving car project took with him thousands of confidential documents.

After the lawsuit was filed, Uber fired the employee and fell behind on its plans to roll out self-driving cars in its ride-sharing service.

Waymo, a company hatched from Google, says the settlement also includes an agreement that Uber cannot use Waymo confidential information in its technology.

“We have reached an agreement with Uber that we believe will protect Waymo’s intellectual property now and into the future. We are committed to working with Uber to make sure that each company develops its own technology,” Waymo said in a statement.

Uber’s new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, expressed regret for the company’s actions in a statement Friday.

“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,” Khosrowshahi said in a statement.

Lidar is a laser-based system that helps self-driving cars to navigate their surroundings.

The trial so far included testimony from former Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick, who denied any attempt to steal trade secrets from Waymo.

Uber has faced a series of recent struggles, including public accusations of sexual harassment at the company and accusations it used software to thwart government regulators.

(VOA)

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