Photo: ANGELO MERENDINO/AFP/Getty Images
Earlier this week, the bumbling bad boy of the self-driving car industry, Anthony Levandowski, was charged with 33 counts of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets from his former employer, Google.
Back up a second — what happened?
Here’s a timeline of how A-Lev got here. He:
- Developed automated vehicles at Google’s Waymo (2008-2016)
- Left to start his own AV company, Otto (2016)
- Joined Uber when it acquired Otto for $600m (2016)
- Got sued by Waymo, accused of stealing trade secrets (2017)
- Was cleared of civil charges when Google settled with Uber (2018)
- Launched a new AV company, Pronto.ai (2018)
- Was arrested again on criminal charges (2019, this week)
So, now what?
Pronto.ai, which is less than 2 years old, wrote in a statement that Levandowski’s charges had to do only with lidar, and not with Pronto.ai’s technology — which, it insists, is far newer and more groundbreaking.
But, if Levandowski is convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison and $250k per charge — and without Levandowski at the wheel, the company could end its drive early.