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The complaint said that Uber and Otto, acquired by the ride services company in August, stole confidential information on Waymo’s lidar sensor technology.
USA TODAY

SAN FRANCISCO — In charges that could delay Uber’s chances of delivering the first commercial self-driving trucks, Alphabet Inc.’s self-driving car company Waymo has filed suit against the company for trade secret misappropriation, patent infringement and unfair competition.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. Last year, Uber bought self-driving truck company Otto for $670 million.

The potentially explosive suit is just the latest heat in an on-going race by multiple companies to be the first to create truly autonomous vehicles.

Google’s self-driving car unit, since renamed Waymo, has been working on the problem since 2009.

Uber has been playing catch up, in part by buying up talent. That included more than 40 robotics researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in 2015 and then in August 2016, the self-driving truck company Otto.

Otto, crucially, has an almost fully-realized LiDAR ( Light Detection and Ranging) system, used to aid autonomous vehicles in sensing their surroundings. That was technology that Uber lacked and which it needed to move its ambitious self-driving plans forward.

That is the heart of the…