Nov 8, 2019

Uber says it's likely to pay Waymo or revamp its self-driving tech

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Uber's long-running battle with Google-owned Waymo over rights to autonomous vehicle tech took a new twist this week, as Uber disclosed new obligations in a regulatory filing.

The impact: Uber says it will likely either have to pay Waymo a license fee or make changes to its autonomous driving systems that "could require substantial time and resources to implement, and could limit or delay our production of autonomous vehicle technologies."

Driving the news: The disclosure, first noticed by Reuters, came after an independent software expert finished an examination of Uber's technology. The review was part of Uber's settlement last year with Waymo of a lawsuit over trade secret theft.

  • This further complicates Uber's autonomous driving ambitions, which haven't gone as well as the firm envisioned when it launched the effort a few years ago.

Meanwhile: Former Uber (and Waymo) executive Anthony Levandowski, who was at the center of the lawsuit for allegedly stealing tech from Waymo, was indicted by a federal grand jury in August on charges of theft of trade secrets.

Go deeper: Did Uber steal Google’s intellectual property? (The New Yorker)

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Uber CEO says Elizabeth Warren not an "existential threat"

Left, photo: Indraneel Chowdhury/NurPhoto via Getty Images; right, photo: photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

In an interview for "Axios on HBO," Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said 2020 candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren's war on Big Tech would not be a major threat to the company.

Between the lines: Warren has previously backed Uber and Lyft drivers in their fight for living wages ahead of the companies' public rollouts.

Go deeperArrowNov 11, 2019

Uber struggles with 'open secret' of shared driver accounts

Photo: Peter Summers/Getty Images

Since London decided to revoke Uber's operating license, the city's transportation regulator found that 14,000 rides in late 2018 and early 2019 were completed by unverified drivers who had "rented" a real driver's account, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: Uber says shared driver accounts are a global problem, including in the U.S. An Uber spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal the company has adjusted its policies in London to combat the issue, but it still not a "silver bullet."

Go deeperArrowNov 28, 2019

Uber CEO: More cars "not the answer"

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo by PHILIP PACHECO/AFP via Getty Images

In an interview last week with "Axios on HBO," Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said its business has to "radically shift how it grows" to avoid wearing out its welcome in cities.

Why it matters: That means investing in fleet electrification and convincing people to take alternative modes of transportation like Uber buses, electric bikes and scooters are key goals for the company — which doesn't have a history of playing nice with cities.

Go deeperArrowNov 13, 2019