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Tesla settles lawsuit against ex-Autopilot lead's self-driving startup Aurora

20 April 2017, 03:23 | Justin Tyler

Tesla settles lawsuit against ex-Autopilot lead's self-driving startup Aurora

The Tesla Model X P100D all-electric three-row SUV hits 60 mph in 2.9 seconds and uses falcon wing doors to access the rear seats. Tesla settled a lawsuit Wednesday against a former employee’s self-driving car startup

Apparently, the lawsuit involves a settlement that clears Aurora and Anderson of any wrongdoing.

From October 2016, Tesla started selling Autopilot 2 with the hardware saying that it will have same capabilities as its first-generation system. Tesla confirmed in an emailed statement that the lawsuit has been settled and said it's been paid $100,000. "What consumers received were cars without standard safety enhancements featured by cars costing less than half the price of a new Tesla, and a purported "Enhanced Autopilot" that operates in an erratic and unsafe manner", the statement continues. Three engineers from the Autopilot group initially chose to join Aurora, though one later changed his mind, Tesla said in the January 26 complaint.

Both Tesla and Aurora said they reached a settlement agreement on Wednesday. In Tesla's original complaint, its prayer for relief asked for the company to abide by the one-year time frame before Aurora recruits Tesla employees, and return or cease use of proprietary Tesla information.

"Tesla's lawsuit against Mr. Anderson, Mr. Urmson, and Aurora has been settled".

According to a settlement agreement, Aurora will pay Tesla $100,000 (a paltry sum for a billion-dollar company like Tesla) and allow Tesla to hire an independent auditor to scour Aurora's systems for confidential Tesla information, which would then be destroyed or returned to Tesla.

Tesla said in a statement that the settlement "establishes a process to allow Tesla to recover all of the proprietary information that was taken from the company" and that Aurora's computers would be subject to audits to monitor for any use of Tesla's property.

"Today, less than three months after filing (and even before we were permitted to file a response) Tesla has withdrawn its claims, without damages, without attorney's fees, and without any finding of wrongdoing", Anderson wrote in the post.

Competition for qualified autonomous driving engineers in Silicon Valley is white hot. Aurora also agreed to do an audit to determine whether its employees have any confidential Tesla information, and send the results of that audit to Tesla within 30 days.

In a similar action, Waymo sued ride service Uber in February, alleging intellectual property theft. Waymo alleges Anthony Levandowski, a former engineer, stole laser-scanning system designs and technology and started a new company that Uber acquired a year ago.

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