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An Uber self-driving vehicle in Pittsburgh. (GeekWire Photo / Taylor Soper)

The legal battle that threatened to upend Uber’s self-driving vehicle program is coming to an end.

RELATED: Inside Uber’s self-driving tech center in Pittsburgh, a glimpse of the possible future of transportation

Uber and Alphabet’s self-driving spinout Waymo settled their dispute Friday, just a few days after a trial over alleged theft of trade secrets began. As part of the settlement, Waymo receives a 0.34 percent stake in Uber, valued at $245 million.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi published a letter online about the settlement, striking a conciliatory tone. The former Expedia CEO came to the company last August with a long list of issues to sort out, this lawsuit being one of the most important.

“While I cannot erase the past, I can commit, on behalf of every Uber employee, that we will learn from it, and it will inform our actions going forward,” Khosrowshahi wrote. “I’ve told Alphabet that the incredible people at Uber (Advanced Technologies Group) are focused on ensuring that our development represents the very best of Uber’s innovation and experience in self-driving technology.”

The cameras and lidar beam at the top of the vehicle that help Uber’s self-driving cars read the road. (GeekWire Photo / Taylor Soper)

Khosrowshahi went on to say that “while we do not believe that any trade secrets made their way from Waymo to Uber, nor do we believe that Uber has used any of Waymo’s proprietary information in its self-driving technology, we are taking steps with Waymo to ensure our Lidar and software represents just our good work.”

RELATED: We rode in Uber’s self-driving car, and now we’re less confident in the future of autonomous vehicles

In its lawsuit, Waymo claimed that one of the leaders of its self-driving car development program, Anthony Levandowski, took 14,000 confidential files relating to the venture’s laser-scanning technology with him when he left to help create a self-driving truck company called Otto.

Uber acquired Otto last year for $680 million, and made Levandowski the leader of its self-driving car development effort. Uber later fired Levandowski as allegations against him surfaced.

The trial opened Monday, and much of the attention focused on testimony from the former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, who resigned last June but kept a seat on the company’s board. The lawsuit threatened to detail Uber’s self-driving efforts, as Waymo was seeking a judgement up to $1.8 billion.

Self-driving research is an important initiative for Uber. It was born out of the Advanced Technologies Group based in Uber’s Pittsburgh engineering office. Uber has completed 50,000 self-driving rides in Pittsburgh and Phoenix as of December, up from 30,000 in September.

Dara Khosrowshahi speaks at the 2016 GeekWire Summit. (GeekWire Photo)

Khosrowshahi is drastically changing Uber’s culture as the company attempts to rehabilitate its reputation following a year of scandal. But he is just as excited, if not more so, as the previous regime about the potential of self-driving cars. And he thinks Uber will begin putting them into service within 18 months.

“As we change the way we operate and put integrity at the core of every decision we make, we look forward to the great race to build the future. We believe that race should be fair — and one whose ultimate winners are people, cities and our environment,” Khosrowshahi wrote.

Here’s the full letter from Khosrowshahi:

My job as Uber’s CEO is to set the course for the future of the company: innovating and growing responsibly, as well as acknowledging and correcting mistakes of the past. In doing so, I want to express regret for the actions that have caused me to write this letter.

To our friends at Alphabet: we are partners, you are an important investor in Uber, and we share a deep belief in the power of technology to change people’s lives for the better. Of course, we are also competitors. And while we won’t agree on everything going forward, we agree that Uber’s acquisition of Otto could and should have been handled differently.

To our employees, in particular the great and talented people of Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group: I am inspired by your passion and commitment to bringing self-driving vehicles to life. Over the last year, you’ve been distracted from your mission. For that I am sorry.

There is no question that self-driving technology is crucial to the future of transportation—a future in which Uber intends to play an important role. Through that lens, the acquisition of Otto made good business sense.

But the prospect that a couple of Waymo employees may have inappropriately solicited others to join Otto, and that they may have potentially left with Google files in their possession, in retrospect, raised some hard questions.

To be clear, while we do not believe that any trade secrets made their way from Waymo to Uber, nor do we believe that Uber has used any of Waymo’s proprietary information in its self-driving technology, we are taking steps with Waymo to ensure our Lidar and software represents just our good work.

While I cannot erase the past, I can commit, on behalf of every Uber employee, that we will learn from it, and it will inform our actions going forward. I’ve told Alphabet that the incredible people at Uber ATG are focused on ensuring that our development represents the very best of Uber’s innovation and experience in self-driving technology.

As we change the way we operate and put integrity at the core of every decision we make, we look forward to the great race to build the future. We believe that race should be fair—and one whose ultimate winners are people, cities and our environment.

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