During a pretrial deposition in April, Waymo lawyers questioned Levandowski for hours about allegations that he took Waymo's trade secrets. He declined to answer any questions about his time at both companies, citing constitutional protections against self-incrimination over 300 times, according to a deposition transcript. Levandowski has never publicly addressed the allegations of taking the documents and law enforcement has not charged anyone with their theft.
Travis Kalanick--a vocal fighter against taxi lobbyists, government regulations, pink mustache businesses, and tech giant Google--is speaking out again. Uber's former CEO filed a 15-page response to investor Benchmark Capital's lawsuit against him this week. The venture capital firm accused Kalanick of fraud, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty in a lawsuit filed last week. SEE ALSO: Texts between Uber's Travis Kalanick and Anthony Levandowski are juicy Among Kalanick's statement of facts is a note that his mother had been killed in a boating accident when Benchmark was planning to oust him as CEO. "It executed its plan at the most shameful of times: immediately after Kalanick experienced a horrible personal tragedy," the 15-page document, first reported by Axios, reads.
A name that came up often during the Uber v. Waymo trade secrets trial is back in the headlines: Anthony Levandowski. Its "intelligent driving" system for commercial trucks, Copilot, was released Tuesday. It's similar to Tesla's Autopilot, featuring Level 2 autonomous features that require a fully attentive and alert driver, but it's for truckers. Levandowski worked for Google's Waymo before he left to start his self-driving truck company, Otto, which was almost immediately purchased by Uber. He was then fired from Uber after Waymo said he stole proprietary information about self-driving tech like LiDAR, which uses light and lasers to help vehicles "see."
Uber sounds like a blast to work for, at least if you're cofounder Travis Kalanick and former head of self-driving technology Anthony Levandowski. They may no longer be at the ride-hailing company, but they're both at the center of a lawsuit with Uber and Google's Waymo. In light of that, we were gifted with 400 text messages between the two former colleagues, IEEE Spectrum reported Tuesday. The texts reveal details about Uber's regulatory issues with the city of Palo Alto and their potential work with Google. They also reveal the bromance between the two.
If federal prosecutors successfully prosecute Anthony Levandowski for 33 federal charges of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets, the self-driving engineer could face millions in fines and decades in prison. The accusations aren't new--they rehash the core of Waymo's civil case against Uber, which settled in February 2018--but their resurfacing in this format threatens to put a dismal end to a career remarkable for its range and variation. For nearly 20 years, the French-American Levandowski has played a kind of purposeful Forrest Gump for the world of autonomous driving. Rather than stumbling into the center of one momentous event after another, Levandowski has put himself there. And he has left a mixed trail in his wake: Former colleagues have described him as brilliant, engaging, motivating, fast-charging, inconsiderate, a weasel, and just plain evil.