Alphabet's Waymo was ordered to share the details of its self-driving partnership with Lyft, with a competent United States court concluding that the deal may be important to the ongoing legal battle between the Mountain View, California-based autonomous vehicle company and Uber. Lyft — a direct competitor to Uber — has been collaborating with Waymo since earlier this year, with both tech giants looking to advance their self-driving solutions in an effort to commercialize them before the competition does. Lyft is specifically looking to launch a self-driving ride-sharing service in the future and while Waymo's goals are broader than that, both companies are interested in the same technology.
A partnership with Alphabet is something that Uber has been pursuing for years but was reportedly dismissed by Google co-founder Larry Page himself. The reasoning behind Page's decision is currently unclear but Uber's attorneys are now looking to depose the Alphabet Chief Executive Officer on the matter, claiming that Page never wanted to work with the San Francisco, California-based ride-hailing giant and Waymo launched a trade secret theft lawsuit against Uber in an effort to slow down its competitor. Waymo claims that its former engineer and ex-chief of Uber's self-driving division Anthony Levandowski downloaded over 14,000 sensitive documents from its former employer before leaving to establish a self-driving truck startup Otto that Uber acquired last summer. Alphabet's subsidiary accused Uber of using a number of those secrets in its own autonomous driving solutions, including a particular LiDAR design that Uber claims was developed independently.
Waymo already dropped a number of its copyright infringement claims against Uber, though the one pertaining to its LiDAR design is still being pursued. It's currently unclear whether the ride-hailing company will manage to use the details of the plaintiff's deal with Lyft to strengthen its legal defense but an update on the situation should follow shortly, with Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley telling Waymo to produce its partnership documents momentarily. Lyft itself isn't required to disclose anything to Uber as part of the latest ruling in the case that Uber has been fighting to move to arbitration but Alphabet wants to keep public.