A company now owned by Uber since 2016 quietly purchased a small company focusing on sensor innovation utilized in autonomous automobiles, giving the ride hailing company a patent in the technology and potentially a defense against a trade secrets theft lawsuit submitting against it by competing Alphabet Inc.
The CEO of obscure Tyto Lidar LLC stated in a May last year post on LinkedIn that the company had been sold, at the same time as he and three other executives signed up with Otto, as per their profiles on the online business network. Official U.S. patent data reveals Otto obtained Tyto technology during the same time.
Otto, a self-driving truck startup established by former Alphabet workers, was purchased by Uber in August.
The unpublicized acquisition may end up being a factor in the high-stakes legal battle between Uber and Alphabet, the parent of Google, as the two Silicon Valley business strongly establish self-driving technology, commonly viewed as the future of private road transport in the United States.
Similarly, it may become a footnote in the complex lawsuits, which could take time to unfold.
Alphabet’s autonomous vehicle unit Waymo took legal action against Uber and Otto recently, alleging that previous employee Anthony Levandowski, who left Waymo to establish Otto, downloaded and stole over 14,000 private files, including information on light detection and ranging sensing unit innovation, referred as Lidar, a vital element in many self-driving automobile systems.
It declared that without those Waymo designs, Uber might not have actually established its technology as fast as it tells.
An Uber representative refused to discuss Tyto, pointing out the pending lawsuits, but called Waymo’s claim “a baseless” effort to slow down a rival. Waymo refused to talk about Tyto.