Levandowski has taken the 5th, and that was a factor in the judge’s decision to deny arbitration.
Not only will there be a trial, but Judge William Alsup also referred the case to the U.S. Attorney for investigation of possible theft of trade secrets, a move that suggests the Uber engineer at the center of the case could face criminal charges.
Here's a different take: Robotic cars will kill Uber? TTJ has been saying for a while that Uber’s future depends on robots. the company desperately wants to rid itself of its expensive drivers, and can not be late to the party. Ford has clearly indicated that it is going to challenge Uber as a ride provider.
“Even though he is not a defendant here,” Alsup wrote in the court filings, “Levandowski’s assertion of his Fifth Amendment privilege has obstructed and continues to obstruct both discovery and defendants’ ability to construct a complete narrative as to the fate of Waymo’s purloined files. As a practical matter, it is hard to imagine how consolidating proceedings as to Levandowski and defendants, whether here or in arbitration, could alleviate these difficulties.”
Rather than product providers, carmakers are to become service providers, at least in this thesis. I am not convinced.
Uber’s philosophy, both internally and in its pitch to consumers, is that it’s a hassle to own a car. The irony is, for the pay-by-the-ride future of transportation to be realized, someone has to own a lot of cars. Chances are, it won’t be Uber.
The point in this article is that currently, Uber offloads the cost of the vehicle and maintenance onto drivers. No drivers, then Uber has to swallow those costs. If Uber isn’t going to own the vehicles, then who is? Switching between ride services is easier than switching between cell phones. Thus the author concludes that Uber is doomed. Even if it gets its robotic cars up and running.
All of this is part of what auto makers and ride-hailing companies anticipate will be a larger transition to “transportation-as-a-service”—potentially the end of widespread vehicle ownership in developed countries. Subscribing to such a service for all of a person’s transportation needs within a typical American city could cost anywhere from 10% to 25% what an average consumer now spends on owning, maintaining and insuring a vehicle, says Tony Seba, co-founder of technology think tank RethinkX. Cost savings on that order could lead to rapid adoption akin to the touchscreen smartphone revolution, he argues.
Developers working with artificial intelligences (AI) are having the systems learn to drive by mimicking humans. Among the significant sticking points with AI is that engineers can't explain how the systems make the decisions they do.
Programmers are optimistic that someday the cars will be able to handle even Beijing's traffic. But the cost could be high, and it might be a decade or more before Chinese regulators deem self-driving cars reliable enough for widespread public use, said John Zeng of LMC Automotive Consulting.Intel's Winter expects fully autonomous cars to collect, process and analyze four terabytes of data in 1 ½ hours of driving, which is the average amount a person spends in a car each day. That's equal to storing over 1.2 million photos or 2,000 hours of movies. Such computing power now costs over $100,000 per vehicle, Zeng said. But that cost could fall as more cars are built.
No one actually knows what Amazon is up to, however. A robotic truck wouldn’t be held to the same rules as a human driver, who can only drive 10 hours. Four days to cross the US becomes 1.5. Amazon is also interested in drones, and that is where (for now) their biggest interest lies.
The initiative, still in its early phases, could help the Seattle-based company overcome one of its biggest logistical complications and costs: delivering packages quickly. Amazon could use autonomous vehicles including trucks, forklifts and drones to move goods. In addition, driverless cars could play a broader role in the future of last-mile delivery, enabling easier package drop-offs, experts say.
Apple is using Bosch veterans as well, and Bosch has become a big supplier.
Apple Inc. ’s AAPL +1.05% plan for autonomous vehicles calls for putting more-senior engineers in all of its cars than some of its rivals are using for road tests, a move that suggests the company is still in the early phases of testing its technology, analysts say.
In a permit issued April 14 by the state of California, obtained Friday through a public-records request, Apple identifies six employees, including roboticists who worked at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, who will be in the front seat of three Lexus sport-utility vehicles outfitted with technology to make them autonomous.