SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Autonomous driving company Waymo has filed a complaint against the California Department of Motor Vehicles after a public records request was made for how it handles autonomous vehicle emergencies, including collisions.
Waymo brings this action to prevent the disclosure by the DMV of what it says is sensitive trade secret information and records on its operations in response to public records requests made under the California Public Records Act.
Waymo claims the information, which was redacted, would put it at a competitive disadvantage.
The request was made by an unidentified third party. Information that is sought includes circumstances in which a vehicle’s autonomous system would switch to control to a trained driver, how vehicles assess disengagement incidents and how it assesses collision incidents.
Waymo said the DMV notified it of the records release request on Oct. 18, 2021.
Waymo said it provided a redacted version of the requested materials to protect its proprietary and trade secret information.
The DMV notified Waymo that certain redactions had been challenged by the third-party requester. Waymo holds that the third party is seeking to have the trade secret information that was redacted.
On Jan. 3, the DMV advised Waymo that it intended to release the redacted information unless Waymo sought an injunction to prohibit it.
On Jan. 20, Waymo informed the DMV that it was willing to withdraw some of the challenged redactions.
The complaint states in the filing that allowing the release of trade secret information “will have a chilling effect across the industry. Potential market participants interested in deploying autonomous vehicles in California will be dissuaded from investing valuable time and resources developing this technology if there is a demonstrated track record of their trade secrets being released.”
Waymo is owned by Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google.
The complaint filed by Waymo is available online.
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Waymo sues to keep data on AV emergencies secretComment
I fail to see how producing an Emergency Plan, for dealing with such, is any different from all the information gathered, and made available to the public, concerning how owners of Class A vehicles, that are non-AV, plan ahead for such contingencies. The public has a right to know what the risks are in implementing this new transportation technology. A countersuit by the public appears necessary.