'We Need To Fire Anthony': Google Before Finding Out Self-Driving Car Engineer Allegedly Stole Tech

tomatopaste

Well-Known Member
http://jalopnik.com/we-need-to-fire-anthony-google-before-finding-out-self-1811689572
'We Need To Fire Anthony': Google Before Finding Out Self-Driving Car Engineer Allegedly Stole Tech
Jalopnik.com 9/14/17 by Ryan Felton

Google is currently locked in a bitter legal fight with Uber over whether an engineer at the former company stole self-driving tech and brought it to the latter. That engineer abruptly left Google in January 2016 to launch a self-driving truck startup called Otto, which Uber quickly sought to purchase. But as early as August 2015, Google’s self-driving car guru knew the guy had to go and didn’t mince words about it.

In August 2015, Google’s former self-driving car chief, Chris Urmson, advocated firing the self-driving tech engineer Anthony Levandowski. He did this after learning Levandowski had approached several Google employees to set up a “package deal of people that he could sell en masse to Uber,” according to testimony in the ongoing lawsuit.

Waymo, Google’s self-driving car project, is suing the ride-hailing company, claiming Uber hatched a plan with Levandowski to steal Google’s self-driving car secrets and use them to advance the ride-hailing company’s own autonomous vehicle ambitions.

Urmson’s testimony, taken in a deposition late last month, indicates that Levandowski had been frustrated for years before ultimately leaving the company.

At one point, Urmson was asked about negative performance reviews that Levandowski seemingly received in 2013 and 2014. Urmson said it coincided with a transition period in Project Chauffeur—a codeword for Google’s self-driving car project at the time—where it became evident that he was leading the endeavor, and not Levandowski.

“[T]here was a period after it became clear that I was leading Chauffeur and he was not, where I worked very hard to kind of mend bridges and bring him, you know, into the fold, so to speak,” Urmson said. “Over time my patience with his manipulations and lack of enthusiasm and commitment to the project, it became clearer and clearer that this was a lost cause. And so I think what you’re seeing is some of that turn in my sentiment towards him.”

That sentiment seems obvious in emails from Urmson that were cited by attorneys during the August 24 deposition.

In an August 4, 2015, email, for example, Urmson started an email to colleagues that said: “We need to fire Anthony Levandowski.”

Urmson went on, “I have just heard today from two different sources that Anthony is approaching members of their team attempting to set up a package deal of people that he could sell en masse to Uber.”

Levandowski’s rocky departure from Google has been the subject of intense focus from Uber, which hopes to argue at trial that a dispute between Google and Levandowski over a $120 million bonus led him to allegedly steal an array of trade secrets from the company. Waymo has said Uber’s “bonus theory” is without merit.

Records show that Levandowski communicated with Uber executives throughout 2015, and by the end of the year, a tentative deal was already in place between the ride-hailing company and the former Googler to purchase his future start-up Otto.

Jalopnik first reported that, in early December 2015, Uber had drafted a term sheet to acquire “Newco,” a startup understood to be Levandowski’s self-driving truck startup called Otto. Uber officially purchased Otto in August 2016 for a reported $680 million.

Spokespeople for Uber and Waymo, as well as Levandowski’s attorneys, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The case between Uber and Waymo heads to trial next month.
 
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tomatopaste

Well-Known Member
Down in flames they go.
I think Kalanick is facing potential jail time. This is why the investors demanded he step down, "it wasn't Uber, it was Kalanick." This shows collusion between Kalanick and Levandowski to steal Google's self driving car tech, which is new. Levandowski's startup self driving truck company, Otto, was just a ruse to allow Uber to steal the tech. Yesterday it was reported Google is thinking about investing one billion in Lyft. I think Google sees Uber as mortally wounded and would love to help finish them off.
 
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tomatopaste

Well-Known Member
I doubt anyone would seriously view Uber as mortally wounded. They are the big dog of the industry. They might have to pay some fines here and there but I expect they will keep rolling along.
They are the big dog in the typewriter business the day before personal computers hit. Self driving cars make rideshare obsolete.
 

Gung-Ho

Well-Known Member

tomatopaste

Well-Known Member
In theory yes but real world implementation is always the tricky part.
Uber has charged 30,000 customers full fare operated by SDC's. Uber wouldn't be doing this if the safety driver had to take over 10 times a trip. These 30k pax are telling everyone they know about the trip. For companies to allow the public to see SDC's in action means it's getting very close. Google is doing the same thing but not charging. Yet.
 
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goneubering

Well-Known Member

Fubernuber

Well-Known Member
I doubt anyone would seriously view Uber as mortally wounded. They are the big dog of the industry. They might have to pay some fines here and there but I expect they will keep rolling along.
Big dogs? No they are a prifitless goliath they will NEVER make a profit because of 2 simple things
1. No tipping forces them to subsidize drivers or raise rates.
2. Sdcs will kill them. Without a million drivers which they spent billions on to acquire, they have NOTHING
 

tomatopaste

Well-Known Member
Thats right. Someone will and that someone can own and operate them with a lesser operating expense
This is true. All Uber has to offer is their large existing customer base. In order for Uber to survive they have to partner with a SDC company and it seems most are hesitant to associate themselves with Uber at this point. That could change but things are moving fast and Uber can't afford to lose any more time. Google is rumored to be seriously considering investing 1 billion in Lyft. Google would love nothing more than to crush Uber and take a wiz on their smoldering ashes.
 

uberdriverfornow

Well-Known Member
Uber has charged 30,000 customers full fare operated by SDC's. Uber wouldn't be doing this if the safety driver had to take over 10 times a trip. These 30k pax are telling everyone they know about the trip. For companies to allow the public to SDC's in action means it's getting very close. Google is doing the same thing but not charging. Yet.

lol you're still spouting this nonsense.

Uber still isn't anywhere near close to having any chance of ever having a sdc on the road.

It seems you forgot about this.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/techcr...er-recode-leaked-autonomous-vehicle-data/amp/

And all supposed sdc's that pick up riders have drivers in them. Thats the only reason people still get in them.
 

tomatopaste

Well-Known Member
lol you're still spouting this nonsense.

Uber still isn't anywhere near close to having any chance of ever having a sdc on the road.

It seems you forgot about this.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/techcr...er-recode-leaked-autonomous-vehicle-data/amp/

And all supposed sdc's that pick up riders have drivers in them. Thats the only reason people still get in them.
lol you're still spouting this nonsense.

Uber still isn't anywhere near close to having any chance of ever having a sdc on the road.

It seems you forgot about this.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/techcr...er-recode-leaked-autonomous-vehicle-data/amp/

And all supposed sdc's that pick up riders have drivers in them. Thats the only reason people still get in them.
Uber is not even in the top 10 when it comes to self driving cars, and yet they are far enough along to be able to charge pax full fare. Uber won't win the SDC race but they could still survive if they partner with the right company.
 
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