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Former Google Employee Indicted for Stealing Trade Secrets Related to Self-Driving Technology

Date: September 3, 2019

A technologist specialized in self-driving vehicles was charged on Aug. 27 for stealing trade secrets from his former employer, Google.

The United States Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of California indicted Anthony Levandowski with 33 counts of theft and attempted theft from Google. The indictment states that while working for the company, Levandowski downloaded over 14,000 files relating to autonomous-vehicle research to his personal laptop. Levandowski left Google in 2016 and created his own startup self-driving truck business called Otto, before being purchased by Uber the same year.

“Some of the files that Mr. Levandowski took from Google included private schematics for proprietary circuit boards and designs for light sensor technology, known as Lidar, which are used in self-driving cars, according to the indictment,” the New York Times reported.

Levandowski’s charge stands in the center of a growing rivalry between Google’s spinoff company Waymo and Uber in a race to lead the evolution toward autonomous vehicles.

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