By Ars Technica on August 2, 2017
The intrigue deepens surrounding the early 2016 discussions between Uber’s acquisition of a self-driving trucking company, Otto, according to newly-released court documents. Otto was founded by two then-high-level Google engineers.
Waymo now says that Uber is dragging its feet about providing evidence that may shed light on how, exactly, the company went about trying to sign a deal with the nascent Otto last year. In addition, excerpts of released transcripts from a recent deposition of an Uber executive show that the company was willing to act as a legal shield for its two soon-to-be employees—known as "indemnification"—if Google came after Uber following the deal to acquire Otto.
The filings come less than two weeks after a hearing in the ongoing Waymo v. Uber lawsuit. The suit involves the Google subsidiary sued Uber, alleging that one of its former employees, Anthony Levandowski, stole 14,000 proprietary files and took them to his new startup. However, Uber says it never received the files, and so it couldn’t have, and didn’t, implement them into its own products, services, or prototypes.