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Uber says using 'fundamentally different' tech than Waymo

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Uber says using 'fundamentally different' tech than Waymo

Uber Technologies Inc. denied claims that it was using self-driving car technology developed by Waymo, Alphabet Inc.'s driverless car unit, saying April 7 the two companies were using "fundamentally different" technologies.

In a court filing in federal court in California, Uber provided more details about what it said were significant differences between the proprietary navigation technology each company was using in its autonomous vehicles. For instance, Uber said its light detection and ranging technology uses four lenses, with two lenses that transmit laser light and two that receive it, while Waymo uses only a single lens.

Waymo has alleged that Uber executive Anthony Levandowski, who previously helped develop Google's technology, improperly downloaded more than 14,000 documents from Google before leaving to start his own company, which was subsequently purchased by Uber.

Uber also argued that Waymo's request for a temporary injunction stopping Uber from developing its technology was not warranted, citing an apparent lack of urgency surrounding the claims. Waymo had information suggesting Levandowski downloaded the documents in October 2016, but did not file its suit until February 2017 and did not seek an injunction until March, Uber said.

"There is no evidence that any of the 14,000 files in question ever touched Uber's servers," Angela Padilla, Uber's associate general counsel said in an emailed statement to S&P Global Market Intelligence. "If Waymo genuinely thought that Uber was using its secrets, it would not have waited more than five months to seek an injunction."

Waymo did not respond to a request for comment by press time. In a statement to The New York Times, Waymo spokesman Johnny Luu said Waymo had "clear evidence" that Uber had planned to use Waymo's technology, "as seen in both circuit board blueprints and filings in the State of Nevada," where Levandowski's startup Otto previously tested its self-driving trucks.