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Uber fires former Google engineer at center of self-driving suit with Alphabet’s Waymo

Anthony Levandowski, the ex-Googler at the center of Waymo and Uber’s legal battle, has been fired. His termination comes after a continued refusal to cooperate in proceedings over whether the ride-sharing company stole Alphabet’s self-driving technology and a scathing New Yorker piece this morning.

According to the New York Times, Uber announced the firing of its vice president of self-driving technology in an internal email to employees today.

Throughout the case, Uber maintained that its self-driving technology did not copy Google’s earlier work, with the company wanting Levandowski to cooperate with an order from a federal judge to hand over related evidence and testimony.

However, the engineer cited his Fifth Amendment rights to avoid possible incrimination. With this firing, effective immediately, it’s clear that Uber was unsuccessful in doing so.

In late April, Levandowski was already removed from self-driving efforts and moved to another role at the company.

Levandowski is accused of stealing information from 14,000 pages worth of documents related to Google’s self-driving technology before he left. An article in New York yesterday, chronicled this departure and how he came to Uber by away of the Otto acquisition.

Levandowski left Google in January 2016 to work on his own self-driving project, but soon began showing up at Uber’s self-driving facility, where one engineer said Kalanick told everyone to give him a “complete brain dump of everything we���ve done to date.” Levandowski began consulting for the company, and a former Uber engineer said he attended meetings during which Levandowski strategized with Uber on how it could recruit Google engineers. The engineer said he was asked to delete messages discussing any possible collaboration.

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