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Uber Turns Over Key Evidence in Self-Driving Lawsuit

By William Vogeler, Esq. on October 04, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

They found a proverbial 'smoking gun' in the self-driving car case against Uber.

It was buried in discovery documents that the company wanted to hide. Ultimately, the judge ordered Uber to produce them.

The plaintiff has the documents now, but there's a problem. It's going to take some time to figure out if the smoking gun shot the bullets.

"Dodge This"

Uber may not be able to dodge this bullet. Google's self-driving car division, Waymo, alleges that Uber used stolen technology to develop a self-driving car.

The ride-hailing company bought a startup founded by former Waymo engineers, headed by Anthony Levandowski. According to the complaint, Levandowski took Waymo's technology with him.

In the latest disclosure, a cybersecurity firm confirmed that Levandowski had 50,000 work emails on his computer when he left Waymo. He also had pictures of a Waymo car, technical diagrams, and a technology patent on his phone.

That technology, LiDar, is at the center of the lawsuit. It is the light array and response system that enables a self-driving car to navigate safely.

The Smoking Gun

The smoking gun, so to speak, was contained in five disks that held Waymo's proprietary information. Levandowski claims he discovered it in his possession when Uber brought him on.

Travis Kalanick, Uber's ousted CEO, reportedly said he "wanted nothing to do with the disks." Levandowski says he had them -- "the bullets" -- destroyed.

Waymo is asking the judge to postpone the trial so that it can review the new evidence.

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