Tagged With waymo

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.

In a damning letter released today, a former Uber employee, Richard Jacobs, claims that the company engaged in several illegal practices, including hacking, trade secret theft and surveillance - all in an effort to emerge at the top of the competitive ride-hailing market.

For years, Uber systemically scraped data from competing ride-hailing companies all over the world, harvesting information about their technology, drivers, and executives. Uber gathered information from these firms using automated collection systems that ran constantly, amassing millions of records, and sometimes conducted physical surveillance to complement its data collection.

We are in the midst of a pretty historic moment. Leaping ahead of the competition, Waymo has announced that its self-driving cars will no longer use a human safety driver while they are tested on the roads of Phoenix. But the even bigger news is that the company is gearing up to launch the first commercial driverless taxi service. Yup, the time has come.

Waymo, the self-driving car unit owned by Google's parent company Alphabet, is now about a month away from its trade secret trial against Uber, and things are starting to get a little messy. Waymo planned to argue that Uber stole nine of its trade secrets and used them in its own self-driving cars in order to cut corners and catch up to the rest of the industry. But the judge in the case just threw out one of Waymo's secrets, along with the expert witness Waymo planned to rely on for evaluating how much Uber should owe in damages.

Waymo, the self-driving car group born out of Google's secretive moonshot unit and recently spun out as its own company, has made a bunch of self-driving cars - around 100 of its current Chrysler iteration, with another 500 in the works, not to mention probably a lot more than that in the future. Yesterday, Waymo let a gaggle of reporters ride around in said Chryslers at its test facility without putting anyone behind the wheel, giving us a first look at what our driverless future will look like.

Self-driving test vehicles are already on the roads in several US states, including California, Arizona and Massachusetts, but the futuristic world of robot cars on every street hasn't materialised quite yet. People are still freaked out by the idea of getting in a car that doesn't have anyone behind the wheel -- and so companies in the autonomous vehicle business are launching their own charm offensives to convince consumers (and members of Congress) that their cars will make the world a safer place.

Waymo's trade secret lawsuit against Uber has so many twists and turns, it's hard to keep up with it all. But there's one key document that both sides of the case have been fighting over for a long time -- the due diligence report Uber commissioned when it was considering the acquisition of Anthony Levandowski's self-driving truck startup, Otto.

Since Waymo sued Uber in February, alleging a massive theft of trade secrets related to its self-driving car technology, Gizmodo and our sister site Jalopnik have aggressively covered the case. Waymo's claims are damning -- the Google-incubated company says one of its leading engineers downloaded tens of thousands of confidential documents before quitting his job and then used those documents to develop autonomous vehicle systems at Uber.

As Uber and Waymo frantically prepare for the October trial over self-driving technology, we're getting more and more insight into what went on in the months leading up to Uber's $US680 million ($860 million) acquisition of the autonomous trucking startup Otto. Text messages between Otto co-founder Anthony Levandowski and former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, as well as a deposition with Kalanick, were made public recently and shed light on how the pair bonded before officially going into business together.