File image: IOL.

CAPE TOWN - Ride-hailing company, Uber is reportedly paying R3.7 billion to autonomous car development company and subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc, Waymo, for theft allegations, reports Australian news site, news.com. 

This comes after the two companies were lodged in a public brawl where news emerged that former Google engineer, Anthony Levandowski allegedly downloaded 14 000 highly confidential files before he quit in January 2016 and went on to create his own self-driving truck company, Otto. 

Otto was then acquired by Uber just seven months later. 

Following this acquisition, Waymo claimed that its trade secrets wormed their way into Uber’s self-driving cars. 

The lawsuit, filed nearly a year ago has finally come to a close. 

The initial settlement Uber offered was R7.4 billion, before the start of the trial. 

However, this settlement did not assure Waymo that its technology would not be used. 

Following lawyers talks from both companies, the settlement was split in half, allegedly on the condition that Waymo had a guarantee that its technology would not be used in Uber’s autonomous cars. 

The settlement will be made in Uber’s stock, however a Waymo expert reportedly claims that it is a fraction of the nearly R31.9 billion in damages that Uber’s alleged theft had caused. 

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Meanwhile, Uber is facing continued backlash from metered taxi operators, vowing to stop at nothing to enforce the law and even the playing field. 

Representatives of Jacaranda City Cabs Concerned Group, made up of metered taxi operators, vowed not to rest for as long as Uber operated illegally on their routes.

“The playing field is not even," spokesman Mosa Thusi said. "We must comply with certain regulations stated in the concurrency letter from the municipality, while they get away without doing that,” .

He said the letter confirmed that operators had a ranking place, which confined them to a certain area.

“Then comes an Uber operator; he does not have the letter which confines him, meaning he can rank anywhere while I am arrested for parking at Bosman Station, for instance. Where is the fairness in that?” he said.

The group claimed they were being failed by law enforcement officials, some of them who actually own Uber taxis.

“These cars are not even stopped by metro police because they know that chief so-and-so owns them. Many of the cars even have police reflectors and pepper spray with the SAPS logo on them.”

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- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE