August 27, 2019 / 7:40 PM / 21 days ago

Timeline: Autonomous car pioneer Levandowski faces criminal charges of stealing from Alphabet

(Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday filed criminal charges against Anthony Levandowski, accusing the former high-ranking Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) engineer of stealing the company’s self-driving car technology before joining rival Uber Technologies Inc (UBER.N).

Former Google and Uber engineer Anthony Levandowski leaves the federal court after his arraignment hearing in San Jose, California, U.S. August 27, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Waymo, Alphabet’s self-driving car unit, had accused Uber with stealing confidential information on Lidar sensor technology to help speed its own efforts in autonomous technology. The two companies eventually agreed to a settlement last year.

Levandowski, a pioneer in autonomous vehicle technology, has started another self-driving car technology company since leaving Uber in 2017.

The following is a timeline of events of Levandowski’s association with the companies and their tussle with each other:

April 2007:

Levandowski joined Google as an architect of Google Street View, according to a report by TechCrunch (tcrn.ch/2z4FNUC)

January 2016:

Levandowski resigns from Google and starts Otto, a self-driving trucking start up. (reut.rs/2Pgxtt1)

May 2016:

Otto quietly acquires Tyto Lidar LLC, a small company that held a patent for Lidar scanner. (reut.rs/2PfXQiI)

August 2016:

Uber buys Otto for reportedly $680 million. Levandowski leads Uber's self-driving efforts in San Francisco, Palo Alto and Pittsburgh.(reut.rs/2L1kwPH)

February 2017:

Waymo sues Uber and Otto, alleging that Levandowski downloaded and stole more than 14,000 confidential files, including details on light detection and ranging sensor technology, known as Lidar, a crucial element in most self-driving car systems. (reut.rs/2zoKKF1)

April 2017:

Uber names Eric Meyhofer to replace Levandowski as head of its Advanced Technologies Group, as Levandowski steps aside from some of his duties. (reut.rs/30DNv1i)

May 2017:

Uber fires Levandowski for failure to comply with a court order to hand over documents. He declined to cooperate, citing his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself.(reut.rs/2LffeP9)

October 2017:

Slideshow (2 Images)

Waymo asks for at least $1 billion in damages and a public apology from Uber as conditions for settling the lawsuit, Reuters reported, citing sources familiar with the proposal. (reut.rs/30G2E2a)

February 2018:

Uber announces to pay $245 million worth of its own shares to Waymo to settle the legal dispute. Earlier, Waymo had agreed to a settlement proposal valued at $500 million, but those terms were rejected by Uber's board, Reuters reported. (reut.rs/2L7ugqk)

Reporting by Ayanti Bera and Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru

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