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Uber talking driverless-car partnership with Waymo

Is Uber looking to Waymo to get it back on the road to self-driving cars?

James Martin/CNET

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is apparently hoping a rival can get its autonomous car program back on track. After one of Uber’s self-driving cars was involved in a fatal crash with a pedestrian in Arizona in April, the ride-hailing service temporarily halted its self-driving operations in all cities where it’s been testing its vehicles. Now Khosrowshahi says he’s looking to an industry rival to get Uber’s program back on the road.

“When we get back on the road, we have to be absolutely satisfied we’re getting back on the road it in the safest manner possible,” Khosrowshahi said Wednesday during an on-stage interview at Recode’s Code Conference, which is being held this week in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. ‘We’re having conversations with Waymo about putting their cars on our network.

“I’d welcome Waymo to put cars in our network,” he said. The revelation is a bit stunning, considering that just a few months ago Uber was locked in one of the highest profile court battles in Silicon Valley history with Waymo, the self-driving car unit of Google parent Alphabet. Waymo’s lawsuit sought £1.8 billion from Uber, accusing the ride-hailing startup of stealing trade secrets related to self-driving technology.

Before the fifth day of the trial was to begin, the two companies announced a settlement in which Waymo was awarded 0.34 percent of Uber’s equity, worth about £245 million given Uber’s estimated valuation of £72 billion. Uber also agreed to not incorporate Waymo’s confidential information into hardware and software used in its self-driving cars. Waymo and Uber representatives didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment about the talks.

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