According to a report this afternoon from Business Insider, Anthony Levandowski, the subject of a dramatic legal battle between Alphabet’s Waymo and Uber over alleged stolen self-driving car technology, has stepped aside from his role as lead of Uber’s Advanced Technologies group. Levandowski will reportedly continue overseeing operations and safety, however…
Specifically, it appears Levandowski is taking steps to distance himself from any responsibilities related to LiDAR, the technology that Alphabet alleges he stole when he left the Mountain View company. Levandowski reportedly sent an email to employees today, asking them not to include him in meetings or emails related to LiDAR. “Please make sure not to include me in meetings or email threads related to LiDAR, or ask me for advice on the topic,” the email read.
Reportedly, Eric Meyhofer, who has been at Uber since 2015, has been named head of Uber’s Advanced Technologies group in Levandowski’s place. According to his LinkedIn profile, Meyhofer attended Carnegie Mellon University in the 90s and went on to be a co-founder of Carnegie Robotics LLC. BI says that Uber confirmed the shakeup.
Here’s the full transcript of the email Levandowski sent to his team:
I want to let you know that Travis and I have decided that I will be recused from all LiDAR-related work and management at Uber, through the remainder of the Waymo litigation. This change means that Eric Meyhofer will be the head of ATG, reporting to Travis, and I will report to Eric. My other responsibilities will not change.
As you know, I currently don’t provide input on detailed LiDAR design choices. But making this organizational change means I will have absolutely no oversight over or input into our LiDAR work. Going forward, please make sure not to include me in meetings or email threads related to LiDAR, or ask me for advice on the topic.
We all know the hard work that Eric, James and the LiDAR team have put into independently developing our technology over the past few years.
We should all be proud that our self-driving technology has been built independently, from the ground up. With this move, I hope to keep the team focused on achieving the vision that brought us all here.
This lawsuit has been developing since February and Uber unsurprisingly denied Waymo’s claim that it stole self-driving technology not long after Alphabet filed the lawsuit. Waymo later asked the court to stop Uber from using alleged stolen self-driving car tech, and began pushing for its lawsuit against Uber to be played out publicly. Most recently, a judge overseeing the case seemed to believe Uber was hiding Levandowski’s LiDAR work.