A Lawsuit Against Uber Highlights the Rush to Conquer Driverless Cars

The legal battle also provides a rare glimpse into the high-stakes world of top technology talent, where star engineers like Mr. Levandowski, who played a central role in Google’s pioneering autonomous car project, command huge sums of money to try to help define a company’s technological future. After leaving Google in January 2016, Mr. Levandowski formed the self-driving truck company Otto. About six months later, Uber bought Otto for $680 million, and Mr. Levandowski became Uber’s vice president in charge of its self-driving car project.

Waymo filed a lawsuit on Thursday in federal court against Uber and Otto, accusing Mr. Levandowski and Uber of planning to steal trade secrets.