Tech

Theft of secrets in self-driving cars: Ex-Googler pleads guilty

Anthony Levandowski pleads guilty to the theft of the alphabet by Waymo. Waymo emerged from Google and develops self-driving cars. Levandowski held a managerial role there until early 2016. He shared thousands of confidential files with the intent to use them for himself and Uber.



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The manager had secretly founded his own company, which he sold to Uber shortly after the sudden resignation from Google. Uber is also working on self-driving vehicles, but no longer on self-driving trucks. After the scandal broke out, Uber initially denied knowing Levandowski's machinations or using his information.

In fact, Uber boss Travis Kalanick already knew in March 2016 that Levandowski had used Waymo's internal servers. However, according to Uber, Kalanick Levandowski instructed to delete the files. In the meantime, Uber has compared itself to Waymo and assigned 0.34% of its own shares. At the time, the market value was equivalent to approximately $ 245 million.

Levandowski is charged with 33 crimes of secret theft. He could face up to 330 years in prison. Now his lawyer has negotiated a deal with the public prosecutor, as if it were one Communication from the authority emerges from Thursday. Levandowski pleads guilty in one case and admits that the case could have caused up to $ 1.5 million in damage.

The multimillionaire faces only ten years in prison and a $ 250,000 fine, in addition to redressing the damage. Loud Reuters the prosecutor will propose to the judge to impose 30 months imprisonment and drop the other 32 charges. In all likelihood, there is no need for an elaborate process of proof.

Levandowski not only shared extensive business secrets, he also poached Waymo employees. In doing so, he violated his employment contract with Google / Waymo, for which he was sentenced by an arbitral tribunal to compensation of $ 179 million. A US court has now confirmed this.


Alphabet's self-developed car autonomously curves through Mountain View in California.
(Image: Google.)

As a result, Levandowski had to file for personal bankruptcy. He claims he owns less than $ 100 million. Google had once awarded him a $ 120 million bonus. However, it is unclear who will end up paying the $ 179 million.

Apparently there is a contract between Levandowski and Uber, under which Uber vouches for such claims. Uber does not want to comply with this, which is why Levandowski also has to fight a legal conflict with Uber.

The theft of the secret has probably come to light through an oversight of a LIDAR supplier: According to Waymo, the supplier mistakenly added a Waymo employee to the recipient list in an email to Uber in December 2016. Attached was the technical drawing of a LIDAR board, which is said to be strikingly similar to Waymo's self-developed LIDAR board. As a result, Alphabet accused Uber in a lawsuit of secret theft in technology for self-driving cars.

The criminal case against Levandowski is called USA v. Anthony Scott Levandowski and is pending at the Federal District Court for Northern California under Az. 19-cr-0377.


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. (tagsToTranslate) Anthony Levandowski (t) Treason (t) Google (t) Law (t) Criminal Law (t) Road Traffic (t) USA (t) Uber (t) Waymo (t) Autonomous Driving