2017年06月04日

GoogleとUberとの間の諍いの背後に何があるのか。 自動運転車の将来の争い

What’s behind the conflict between Google and Uber
A battle over the future of self-driving cars
May 7th 2017by A.E.S. | SAN FRANCISCO

GoogleとUberとの間の諍いの背後に何があるのか。
自動運転車の将来の争い

Travelling in self-driving cars will, eventually, be a common occurrence in cities. The question is when. But a recent clash between Uber, the ride-hailing giant, and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has cast some doubts on the future of self-driving technology and which company will profit from it. Waymo, Alphabet’s autonomous car unit, has sued Uber for appropriation of trade secrets and patent infringement. The result of the lawsuit could have big implications both for companies and consumers. What is behind the dispute, and which firm is likely to win out? 

autonomous:自律走行車
infringement:侵害



The problem can be summed up in one four-letter word: Otto. Last August Uber announced it had acquired a seven-month-old startup that specialised in autonomous lorries, called Otto, for around $680m. The young startup was co-founded by Anthony Levandowski, a veteran of Alphabet’s self-driving car efforts. According to Waymo’s lawsuit, which was filed in February, before abruptly resigning from Alphabet and founding Otto, Mr Levandowski stole around 14,000 proprietary documents, which has helped Uber replicate Waymo’s lidar technology. Lidar users lasers to scan surrounding objects and is employed in self-driving cars. Uber denies the allegations, says its lidar system is different than Waymo’s and suggests that Waymo is using this lawsuit to try to thwart the innovation and business of a rival. 

lidar:ライダー レーザー光を使ったレーダーで、気象観測などに用いられる。light detection and ranging(レーザー光による検知と測距)の略
thwart:阻止する

Court battles, like divorces, rarely end with either party looking good. But in this instance Uber stands to lose the most. The conflict reinforces Uber’s reputation as a rough-and-tumble startup with a culture of winning at all costs. Mr Levandowski was in touch with Uber and lined up a potential acquisition before he even left Waymo, according to Waymo’s allegations, and Otto was acting merely as a shell company to funnel talent and intellectual property to Uber. Both companies’ programmes to develop autonomous technology will be affected by the outcome of this lawsuit, which could go to trial in October. 

reinforces:より強固にする
tumble:転がるように動く
funnel:じょうごに通すように流す

Alphabet, which has been working on autonomous cars since 2009 and was a leader in the field, has recently found itself in fierce competition with other companies. If it wins the lawsuit, it could slow down Uber’s progress. The lawsuit has already hurt Uber’s ability to recruit top talent in autonomous cars, because the future of which technology it will use is in doubt. Waymo has asked the judge for an injunction, which would bar Uber from using lidar technology until the case is resolved. The judge is expected to make a decision on whether to grant an injunction soon. 

injunction:差し止め命令

But while a lot of attention will be paid to which company will win out in the lawsuit, it is also worth asking what this means for consumers. The arrival of reliable self-driving cars could herald a safer era for people, with fewer accidents and newly found time to accomplish things during commutes that were previously spent staring at the road. Having more companies than Waymo work toward that future will bring about innovation and speed up the pace of progress. Whatever the result, ideally it will be delivered quickly so everyone can get back to work. 

staring:じっと視る

自動運転車の技術をUberがGoogleから盗んだということで訴訟が起こっている。いつからこの自動運転車が市場に出てくるかだが、今年の10月のはその訴訟の結論が出るだろう。こうした技術の競争が激しくなってきている。Googleはこの技術を2009年から開発しているので、その草分けだ。

月曜日。今日は朝会がある。ではまた明日。

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海野 恵一
1948年1月14日生

学歴:東京大学経済学部卒業

スウィングバイ株式会社
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アクセンチュア株式会社代表取締役(2001-2002)
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