Uber gets insurance policy in HK, gets sued in US

After finding itself in hot water over ignored sexual harassment claims in the US this week, here's some good news for the ride-sharing company in Hong Kong.

Uber has secured a group ride-share liability insurance policy with AIG Insurance Hong Kong which provides additional protection to riders and third-parties during any Uber ride-sharing trip in Hong Kong.

The liability insurance policy protects riders and third-parties in the event of an accident during a ride-share involving bodily injury or death, and applies from the moment you book a trip, to the moment the last passenger exits the vehicle.

It covers the period from 17 October 2016 to 30 September 2017.

The limit of liability is HK$100 million per occurrence for bodily injury or death, which is equal to that required of all vehicles under Hong Kong law.

Back across the pond, Uber has found itself in trouble again. Self-driving pioneer Waymo - a subsidiary of Google-parent Alphabet - is suing Uber, accusing the ride-sharing giant of stealing critical self-driving technology.

In this lawsuit, Waymo states that the company had received an email from one of their suppliers that contained an attachment "of machine drawings of what was purported to be Uber’s LiDAR circuit board — except its design bore a striking resemblance to Waymo’s unique LiDAR design," according to Waymo's post on Medium.

Waymo further stated that Anthony Levandovski, a former Google employee now at Uber, secretly downloaded 14,000 files from its hardware systems in the summer of 2016, resigned a month later, and then used the information to launch a self-driving truck startup called Otto. Uber acquired Otto last August and put Levandovski in charge of all its self-driving efforts.

"The sudden resignations from Waymo, Otto’s quick public launch with Mr. Lewandowski at the helm, and Uber’s near-immediate acquisition of Otto for more than half a billion dollars all caused Waymo grave concern regarding the possible misuse of its intellectual property," the company wrote in the suit.

In the post, Waymo said, "Our parent company Alphabet has long worked with Uber in many areas, and we didn’t make this decision lightly. However, given the overwhelming facts that our technology has been stolen, we have no choice but to defend our investment and development of this unique technology."

The US federal civil suit, filed today in California’s Northern District, accuses Uber of violating the Defense of Trade Secrets Act and the California Uniform Trade Secret Act, as well as patent infringement.

In a statement, Uber said it takes the allegations seriously and will review the matter carefully.