Uber has fired the former Waymo/Google engineer at the center of the company’s current legal battle with the the tech giant, Anthony Levandowski, according to recent reports.
The termination of Levandowski — who left Waymo/Google to found the self-driving truck firm Otto, which was then acquired by Uber — was first revealed through an internal staff email released yesterday.
With regard to the ongoing lawsuit, Levandowski has been accused of stealing trade secrets from Waymo/Google relating to LiDAR tech which Uber then utilized, according to the company.
“During the court proceedings, Levandowski exercised his Fifth Amendment rights to avoid providing testimony or handing over evidence regarding his use of proprietary data from his time at Google. Uber had previously warned that Levandowski could face consequences for his lack of compliance with his employment requirements at the company,” Autoblog reports.
“Uber confirmed via a spokesperson that Levandowski was terminated following months of the company attempting to have him comply with and assist its own internal investigation into the matter, and had set a clear deadline for him to do so. Uber also noted that Eric Meyhofer, who stepped in when Levandowski was removed from his role leading ATG in April, will continue to lead the team and take over Levandowski’s direct reports.”
It’s hard to know what to make of the situation. Is the account given by an Uber spokespersons mentioned above accurate? Or is it damage control? Is the company trying to wash its hands of the matter completely, and hoping that means it’s legal problems with Waymo/Google are over?
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