Faraday hires ex-BMW CFO. Daimler's big EV investment. Tesla's insurance solution.
Intellectual property, pt. II
Waymo’s lawsuit against Otto and parent Uber is the second serious allegation of autonomous IP misappropriation this year (the first being Tesla’s suit against Aurora). Both cases feature a veteran self-driving engineer departing to found a startup; Waymo’s suit in particular centers around former employees’ alleged theft of proprietary designs for the project’s self-driving sensor hardware.
Just before the suit, Waymo disclosed the program’s heavy investment in hardware, including a “first-of-its-kind” long-range LiDAR. Clearly, the company’s suit is an aggressive defense of these proprietary designs and its plans to sell an integrated autonomous hardware-software suite.
(Interesting side note: Starsky Robotics, one of two Otto-esque autonomous trucking startups breaking cover this week, has sided with Tesla in the anti-LiDAR camp, citing the wait for LiDAR costs to fall as a “moral hazard.”)
With Uber grappling with serious cultural allegations on top of the lawsuit, Lyft may be looking to capitalize, with Wednesday headlines pointing to a new $500M fundraising target.
Other transportation network companies also made news, with Ola raising a $330M downround at a steep discount and Didi also weighing a new financing. The latter’s investors are said to be concerned with further dilution, an issue we wrote about back in January.
Digging through the social graphs, Waymo is competing with and now suing the portfolio company of fellow Alphabet unit GV, while Didi Chuxing is invested in all four of the other top TNCs. What a scene.