Uber has fired Anthony Levandowski, the former Google engineer who led Uber's self-driving car efforts, because of his refusal to cooperate in the lawsuit filed by competitor Waymo. Levandowski was at the center of a contentious lawsuit between Uber and Waymo over allegations documents he took were used in Uber's self-driving car development. The news was first reported by the New York Times. Earlier this month, Uber reached out to Levandowski in a letter, asking for him to cooperate in the investigation. As part of the request, Uber asked Levandowski either to confirm he never took documents from Google or return any remaining documents in his possession.
SAN FRANCISCO – A former Google star engineer charged with stealing trade secrets from its self-driving car program has agreed to plead guilty in a deal with prosecutors, according to court documents filed Thursday. Anthony Levandowski, 39, was a founding member of an autonomous vehicle project in 2009 called "Chauffeur," one of Google's more ambitious undertakings. Several years later Levandowski began thinking of leaving Google for another self-driving endeavor that was eventually named "Otto," the plea deal said. He began negotiating with ride-sharing giant Uber to invest in or buy Otto while he was still working at Google, and admits having downloaded a whole series of documents a few months before his resignation in January 2016. "Prior to my departure, I downloaded thousands of files related to Project Chauffeur," Levandowski said in court documents.
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.