SAN FRANCISCO — Uber sidestepped a full shutdown of its self-driving car efforts on Monday when a federal judge stopped short of issuing a temporary injunction against the ride-hailing company’s autonomous vehicle program.
But the court mandated that Anthony Levandowski, a star engineer leading Uber’s self-driving car program, must be restricted from working on a critical component of autonomous vehicle technology throughout the duration of the litigation, a setback that could hamper the company’s development efforts.
The decision came in a case that has underlined the increasingly bitter fight between Uber and Waymo, the self-driving car business that operates under Google’s parent company. Both companies have been striving to race ahead of each other in autonomous vehicles, which many consider to be the future of transportation. The outcome could affect who wins or loses in the technology, which has also drawn in other tech companies, automakers and start-ups.
The case began in February, when Waymo filed a lawsuit against Uber, accusing it of stealing trade secrets to develop self-driving cars. Waymo said the thief was Mr. Levandowski, a onetime star engineer at Google and a guru of autonomous vehicle technology, who joined Uber last year. Waymo asked the court to issue a temporary injunction that could have halted Uber’s self-driving program.
Continue reading the main storyOver the past few months, both sides have traded barbs with one another and attempted various legal tactics to gain the upper hand. Waymo accused Mr. Levandowski of downloading thousands of documents and using the findings at Uber. Mr. Levandowski decided to plead the Fifth Ame