Former Google exec Anthony Levandowski has agreed to plead guilty to pinching secrets about Google’s self-driving car tech and sharing them with Uber.
The case against Levandowski alleged that he downloaded 14,000 files from Google self-driving subsidiary Waymo. The files concerned Light Detection and Ranging (Lidar) tech, which help self-driving cars perceive the world around them. Levandowski used those files in his own startup, called Ottomotto, which was acquired by Uber for US$680m a year after he bailed from Google.
Google sued Uber over the matter and the companies settled for $245m of Uber stock. Uber, for its part, said it did have Google docs, and offered the rather odd observation that while it didn’t think Google’s thinking had informed its own work, it was going to make sure that was the case from the on.
With that unpleasantness out of the way, the US Attorney’s office took action against Levandowski, filing 33 charges over criminal theft of trade secrets.
And that’s what Levandowski has copped to today.
For doing so, US federal prosecutors recommended a maximum prison term of 30 months.
Which is decent stretch of time. And given Levandowski’s alleged bedroom proclivities , perhaps an opportunity of sorts, too. ®