When self-driving cars start hitting the market in the United States, we can expect our roads to be far safer than they are now, and for car accidents to decrease significantly. Now, the newest developments in the self-driving car industry indicate that the time when self-driving cars become widespread could be much closer than we previously expected. Already, major players in the field are suing each other over the intellectual property behind each others’ devices.
Google and Uber in Lawsuit Over Self-Driving Cars
The core of the lawsuit is based on the laser system used by both Google’s and Uber’s self-driving cars. This laser system, called LiDAR – for Light Detection And Ranging – is what lets self-driving cars “see”: They detect objects, their momentum, and determine what those objects are. The car then uses this data to make driving decisions.
According to Google, Anthony Levandowski, an engineer that was on Google’s self-driving car team from its very infancy, downloaded thousands of documents relating to Google’s LiDAR system before leaving the company in early 2016. Levandowski then created his own self-driving car company, Otto. Otto was the company behind the groundbreaking self-driving truck that delivered 2,000 cases of beer 120 miles in Colorado back in October. Mere months before the truck delivery was made, Uber had bought Otto for around $700 million, bringing Levandowski onto their team. Google, though, thinks that this partnership was underway even before Levandowski had left their team, significantly raising the possibility that he took confidential trade secrets with him.
Things have since taken an interesting turn, with Levandowski invoking his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. This allowed him to refuse a request to search his personal computer for evidence that he was talking to Uber before he left Google.
Implications on Self-Driving Car Industry
The lawsuit between Google and Uber has huge implications for the self-driving car industry. If the court sides with Google, it could knock Uber out of the race to enter the market, and would also saddle Uber with a huge intellectual property judgment that could cost millions.
However, one of the most interesting parts of the lawsuit is how close self-driving car developers think they are to creating a final product. According to an article by Vox, Uber could lose months of progress on their self-driving car, “months Uber probably can’t afford to lose” if it wants to stay relevant.
St. Joseph Car Accident Attorneys at the Smith Law Office
Losing months of development is only devastating in highly-competitive markets that are nearing a huge step forward. That the self-driving car world is reaching that point suggests that we could start seeing autonomous vehicles even sooner than we were once expecting.
Until autonomous vehicles are ubiquitous, though, car accidents will happen. Distracted drivers make mistakes by driving negligently, and you could find yourself in a serious crash though no fault of your own. Unfortunately, this can lead to severe personal injuries that you don’t deserve.
This is when to reach out to the Smith Law Office. Our personal injury attorneys can represent you both in and out of court to ensure you get the compensation that you deserve. Contact us online or call our law office (816) 875-9373.