March 28, 2018 / 8:52 PM / in 8 months

Uber freight chief, self-driving expert Lior Ron, exits firm-source

FILE PHOTO - Lior Ron speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., May 2, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

(Reuters) - Lior Ron, head of freight operations at Uber Technologies Inc and a self-driving technology expert, is leaving the ride-hailing company, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

Ron was a key self-driving hire in 2016 as a co-founder of Otto, the driverless truck company launched with Anthony Levandowski and later bought by Uber.

The departure comes a week after an Uber autonomous vehicle struck and killed a woman crossing a street in Arizona.

Alphabet Inc’s self-driving car unit Waymo sued Uber last year saying that Levandowski downloaded more than 14,000 confidential documents in 2015 before leaving to start Otto.

Uber fired Levandowski in May last year and in February agreed to settle a legal dispute with Waymo by paying $245 million worth of its own shares.

Uber’s Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi — who joined the company last August to replace co-founder Travis Kalanick after he was pushed out by the board — is making several changes as he prepares for an initial public offering.

Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

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