As if things couldn’t get any worse for Uber, which ousted its CEO yesterday, the company’s troubles in connection with allegations of stealing self-driving tech from Google spin-off firm Waymo are about to get a lot worse.
In a court filing, Waymo said that Uber has admitted it knew, around some time in March 2016, that one of its execs had secured documents pertaining to self-driving tech from his previous company. Axios noted:
According to new court documents filed by Waymo, Uber has acknowledged that Anthony Levandowski told Travis Kalanick and other Uber executives that he had five discs containing files belonging to Waymo. Uber said that during the March 2016 exchange, Kalanick told Levandowski to destroy the documents and not bring them into Uber. Soon after, Levandowski told Kalanick he had destroyed the discs, according to the court papers.
BREAKING: Uber knew as early as March 2016 (pre Otto acquisition!) that Levandowski downloaded Waymo info, per a new court filing pic.twitter.com/OWDG6vIerN
— Priya Anand (@Priyasideas) June 22, 2017
This could be bad for Uber. Like, real bad.
For those who came in late: Back in February, Waymo sued Uber and its recently acquired self-driving freight truck company Otto for stealing 14,000 files relating to its autonomous vehicle technology. Uber claimed that it had independently developed its own driverless system.
In April, Uber admitted to having found one of the stolen files on the desktop of an employee named Sameer Kshirsagar, who previously worked at Waymo. And last month, Uber parted ways with Levandowski shortly after he pleaded the Fifth when asked to hand over evidence and testify on behalf of the company.
It’ll be interesting to see how the case proceeds from here on out, as the revelation will almost certainly undermine Uber’s claim that it had no prior knowledge about Levandowski having downloaded files from Waymo.