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Former Google, Uber Self-Driving Tech Engineer Levandowski Indicted On IP Theft Charges

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Former Google, Uber Self-Driving Tech Engineer Levandowski Indicted On IP Theft Charges

Pioneering autonomous vehicle engineer Anthony Levandowski has been arrested and charged with theft of trade secrets.

Levandowski was indicted by federal prosecutors who allege he stole or tried to steal files from Waymo, the self-driving car subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG), and used the information in a startup, Otto, that was later sold to Uber Technologies Inc. (NYSE: UBER).

Google sued Uber in 2017 over the same issue, alleging that the Lidar technology underpinning Uber’s self-driving vehicle unit came from Google.

Prosecutors allege Levandowski downloaded more than 14,000 files containing information about Google’s autonomous vehicle program before he left the company in 2016. Levandowski then allegedly used the information to start an autonomous truck company that that he later sold to Uber for more than $650 million.

Levandowski now heads a new company, Pronto AI. 

The indictment includes allegations of 33 counts of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets, and The Washington Post reports the charges could result in a maximum 10-year prison term if Levandowski is convicted. 

Uber and Levandowski both denied any wrongdoing related to the theft allegations during the civil trial over the matter, which ended with a settlement. Levandowski stepped down from his role heading Uber’s self-driving unit in 2017 amid the dispute.

It wasn't immediately clear if Levandowski had a lawyer, if he'd been released or was still in custody at the time of publication. 

Related Links 

Tech Pioneer Levandowski Talks State Of Autonomous Trucking At Transparency 2019

Is Uber Beating Google In The Autonomous Driving Race?

Photo courtesy of Uber. 

Posted-In: Anthony Levandowski autonomous vehicles lidar Pronto AI The Washington PostNews Legal Media Best of Benzinga

 

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