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Uber vs. Google self-driving tech suit revs up as exec takes the Fifth

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Uber is putting the brakes on its driverless car pilot program after one of its self-driving cars got into a high speed crash in Arizona. Sean Dowling (@seandowlingtv) has more. A group of self driving Uber vehicles position themselves to take journalists on rides during a media preview at Uber's Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh. SAN FRANCISCO -- A potentially pivotal lawsuit between Uber and Alphabet's Waymo over allegedly stolen self-driving vehicle sensor technology just took another screeching turn. Anthony Levandowski, a former Google employee who founded the now Uber-owned self-driving truck company Otto, invoked his Fifth Amendment right to protect himself from self-incrimination Wednesday, according to a transcript of the private court hearing reviewed Thursday by USA TODAY.


Uber fires self-driving car hire Levandowski

Boston Herald

Anthony Levandowski, the star engineer behind Uber's ambitious self-driving project and a central figure in its contentious legal battle with Google's Waymo unit over that technology, has been fired. An Uber spokesperson confirmed to USA TODAY Tuesday that the ride-hailing company had severed its ties with Levandowski effectively immediately, in large part due to Levandowski's not meeting court deadlines to turn over documents in the case. The New York Times first reported on the firing. Eric Meyhofer, who took charge of Uber's self-driving car effort in April, will continue to lead the program with Levandowski's direct reports now reporting to him. The news is not wholly unanticipated after Levandowski steadfastly refused to turn over documents in the case and, most recently, was ordered by a judge to be removed from any internal projects related to the sensor technology at the heart of the dispute.


Uber can keep testing self-driving cars, but lead engineer is barred from key work

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

The U.S. Department of Justice has begun a criminal investigation into Uber's use of a software tool that helped its drivers evade local transportation regulators, two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters. Anthony Levandowski, shown here during a briefing at a garage owned by his self-driving truck company Otto, which Uber bought in 2016. SAN FRANCISCO -- A judge has ruled that Uber can continue testing its self-driving cars, although one of its lead engineers has been officially barred from working on a part of the project that led Google's self-driving car unit to sue the ride-hailing company over stolen trade secrets. The ruling is a partial victory for Uber after the judge overseeing the lawsuit last week ordered that the case be reviewed separately by the U.S. Attorney for possible criminal charges. The suit was brought by Waymo, the new name for Google's eight-year-old autonomous car program, in February after it says it discovered that a former self-driving project employee, Anthony Levandowski, had downloaded 14,000 files shortly before quitting.


Uber's self-driving car ambitions live another day

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Google is one step closer to making self-driving cars a reality. In this Dec. 13, 2016, file photo, Anthony Levandowski, head of Uber's self-driving program, speaks about their driverless car in San Francisco. SAN FRANCISCO -- Uber and Waymo's industry-critical battle over self-driving car technology now includes allegations of cover ups, clandestine meetings and big stock payouts. In arguments before U.S. District Judge William Alsup, attorneys for both parties laid out their case related to Waymo's request for a temporary injunction against Uber that would force the ride-hailing company to stop testing its autonomous cars. The day ended without a decision from Alsup.


Uber fires ex-Google boss at center of self-driving suit

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Uber has fired Anthony Levandowski, the ex-Google engineer at the centre of a major self driving lawsuit. Uber announced the firing of its vice president of technology in an internal email to employees today, and has maintained that its self-driving technology did not copy Google's earlier work. It wanted Levandowski to cooperate in order to help with the case, but the engineer cited his Fifth Amendment rights to avoid possible incrimination. High-profile: Levandowski, a'swaggering' six-foot-seven tech leader, is one of Silicon Valley's most significant figures in the development of self-driving cars In lidar -- or light detection and ranging -- scanning, one or more lasers sends out short pulses, which bounce back when they hit an obstacle, whether clouds, leaves or rocks. In self-driving cars, the sensors constantly scan the surrounding areas looking for information and acting as the'eyes' of the car.