Waymo v. Uber: Everything you need to know


Waymo v. Uber: Everything you need to know

Buckle your seatbelts! This one’s a doozy.


Anthony Levandowski starts working for Google

After delving into self-driving vehicle projects as a student at UC Berkeley, Anthony Levandowski joined Google in 2007, working on Street View. His side companies that focused on self-driving efforts, 510 Systems and Anthony’s Robots, were acquired by Google in 2011 for around $50 million, Bloomberg reports.


Supplier notifies Google of similar part order

In July 2013, a supplier informed Google that it had received an order for a custom part from a company called Odin Wave that closely resembled Google’s own part. Odin Wave was connected to an address Levandowski owned in Berkeley, but he denied a connection to the mysterious company. Odin Wave later merged with Tyto to create LiDAR modules for self-driving cars.


14,000+ documents downloaded from Google

Levandowski downloaded onto a work computer 14,000 documents from a database where Google’s self-driving car data was stored, Google alleges in its lawsuit. The download totaled 9.7 GBs, with 2 GBs related to LiDAR, technology Google believes is essential in bringing its self-driving cars to market. Two weeks later, Levandowski allegedly connected an SD drive to his computer for eight hours — during which time Google suspects he transferred the documents. On January 4 and 11, Google claims Levandowski downloaded more documents from Google Drive onto a personal device.


Levendowski meets with Uber execs

Google alleges that Levandowski met with Uber executives in January while he was still employed by Google.


Levandowski forms 280 Systems/Otto

Levandowski formed 280 Systems, the company that would later become Otto.


Levandowski resigns from Google

Google claims Levandowski resigned abruptly without giving notice after nearly a decade at the company.


Levandowski, Otto and Uber sign a joint agreement

Levandowski and Otto sign a joint defense and confidentiality agreement with Uber and CEO Travis Kalanick. The agreement allows confidentiality between the parties and protects them from future litigation.


Otto launches

Otto launches out of stealth with a demo video showing a self-driving truck cruising down a Nevada freeway with no one at the wheel.


Otto acquires Tyto

Remember that LiDAR company Odin Wave, a.k.a. Tyto, that Levandowski denied association with? Google claims Otto acquired it sometime in May.


Two more Google employees download documents

Google alleges that two more employees, Sameer Kshirsagar and Radu Raduta, downloaded several confidential files from Google Drive before departing to work at Otto.


Uber buys Otto for $680 million

In a deal worth $680 million, Uber agrees to acquire Otto and brings Levandowski and his team into its self-driving unit.


Google pursues arbitration with Levandowski and Lior Ron

Google secretly initiates arbitration proceedings against Levandowski and Otto co-founder Lior Ron. The arbitration alleges that Levandowski and Ron, who also is a former Google employee, used confidential salary data to recruit Googlers.


Google receives an email intended for Uber

A LiDAR vendor accidentally copies Google’s self-driving unit, which rebranded this month as Waymo, on an email showing Uber’s circuit board. Waymo believes there are striking similarities between Uber’s design and its own.


Waymo sues Uber and Otto

Waymo sues Uber and Otto, alleging theft of trade secrets and patent infringement.


Levandowski asserts his Fifth Amendment rights

Levandowski asserts his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination in the lawsuit. His lawyer argues that, because of the joint defense agreement with Uber, Uber cannot turn over to Waymo during discovery documents that might incriminate Levandowski.


Uber says it doesn't infringe because it uses off-the-shelf LiDAR

Uber files its first major response to Waymo’s claims. Uber says its LiDAR is unique from Waymo’s, but that the technology is still in development and its cars are currently using commercially-available LiDAR.


Anthony Levandowski steps down from role as head of Advanced Technologies

Levandowski steps down form his role as head of Uber’s Advance Technologies Group (ATG). He will remain at Uber, despite his role change, but won’t be working on “LiDAR-related work and management” at the company, which includes basically anything related to lasers, the company says. The new head of ATG is Eric Meyhofer.


Levandowski got $250 million in Uber stock for Otto

Waymo alleges in court that the formation of Otto was a ruse concocted between its founder Anthony Levandowski and eventual acquirer Uber to hide the fact that he immediately went to work for the ride-hailing company after leaving Google.

To prove its case, Waymo points to a stock grant with a vesting date of January 28, 2016 — the day after Levandowski resigned without notice — that grants Levandowski more than 5 million shares in Uber. The shares are estimated to be worth more than $250 million.


Uber fires Anthony Levandowski

Uber has terminated the employment of Anthony Levandowski, the co-founder of self-driving trucking company Otto and Uber’s former self-driving project engineering lead. The New York Times reported first on Levandowski’s firing, which was made official to employees via an internal staff email circulated on Tuesday.