Anthony Levandowski Biography
Anthony Levandowski (born March 15, 1980) is an American self-driving car engineer. In 2016 he co-founded Otto, an autonomous trucking company, with Lior Ron, Claire Delaunay and Don Burnette. Prior to Otto, he built the Google self-driving car while working as a co-founder and technical lead on the project, known as Waymo. He is known for his work in the advancement of self-driving technology. In 2018 he co-founded Pronto, which he announced via a blog post. Pronto was the first company to complete a cross-country drive in an autonomous vehicle in October 2018. At the 2019 AV Summit hosted by The Information, Levandowski remarked that a fundamental breakthrough in AI is needed to move autonomous vehicle technology forward.
BREAKING: Former Google and Uber Star Engineer Anthony Levandowski Indicted on Federal Charges — 33 Counts of Theft or Attempted Theft of Trade Secretshttps://t.co/P3gYub1ecz
— rat king (@MikeIsaac) August 27, 2019
Anthony Levandowski banned
On May 15, 2017, United States District Judge banned Levandowski from further work on Otto’s Lidar technology on the basis of having breached the confidentiality of former employer Waymo. On May 30, 2017, Uber fired Levandowski for failing to cooperate with investigators. On August 27, 2019 he was indicted on 33 federal charges of alleged theft of self-driving car trade secrets.
Breaking: Former Google executive Anthony Levandowski has been arrested by the FBI following an indictment on 33 counts of violation of federal law, including theft of trade secrets involving self-driving car technology.
— Josh Campbell (@joshscampbell) August 27, 2019
Anthony Levandowski Education and Early career
In 1998, Levandowski entered the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research. As a freshman, he launched an intranet service from his basement. In 2004 he and fellow UC Berkeley engineers built an autonomous motorcycle, nicknamed Ghostrider, for the DARPA Grand Challenge. The Ghostrider motorcycle competed in the DARPA Grand Challenge in 2004 and 2005 and was the only autonomous two-wheeled vehicle in the competition. The motorcycle now resides in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
Anthony Levandowski Married, Wife
Anthony Levandowski Recent career
In 2007 Levandowski joined Google to work on Google Street View with Sebastian Thrun, whom he had met at the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge. While still working at Google he founded 510 Systems, a mobile mapping start-up that experimented with Lidar technology. Then in 2008, he founded Anthony’s Robots to build a self-driving Toyota Prius called the “Pribot.” According to The Guardian, it was “a self-driving Toyota Prius with one of the first spinning Lidar laser ranging units and the first ever to drive on public roads.”
#BREAKING: Former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski has been indicted for charges that he allegedly stole the company’s confidential self-driving car technology and sold it to Uber. https://t.co/5QTHWWFtfs
— ABC7 News (@abc7newsbayarea) August 27, 2019
While working at Google, Levandowski simultaneously established other companies as a side project. His companies 510 Systems and Anthony’s Robots were later bought into Google.
Levandowski worked on Google’s self-driving car until January 2016, when he left to, found Otto, a company that makes self-driving kits to retrofit big rig trucks. Quoted in The New York Times, Levandowski said he left Google because he “was eager to commercialize a self-driving vehicle as quickly as possible”. Otto launched in May 2016 and was acquired by Uber in late July 2016. As part of the acquisition, Levandowski assumed leadership of Uber’s driverless car operation in addition to his work at Otto.
In September 2017, Wired magazine reported that Levandowski had established a religious organization called ‘Way of the Future’ to “develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence.”
In July 2018, it was reported that Levandowski started a self-driving vehicle technology company. A few months later, in mid-December 2018, Levandowski announced the launch of Pronto AI, a company to produce a $5000 camera-based self-driving highway-only retrofit system for semi-trucks. As a proof-of-concept, Levandowski claimed to have taken a modified self-driving Prius 3100 miles across the United States. The company’s first product is expected to ship in 2019.
Anthony Levandowski Lawsuit
It’s easy to ignore this sort of IP theft as something that happens at big tech companies and doesn’t really affect anyone outside of them.
But it does. IP theft was responsible for the loss of 600 jobs at company based here in Massachusetts. https://t.co/OyUkXm218A
— Brianna Wu (@BriannaWu) August 27, 2019
According to a February 2017 lawsuit filed by Waymo, the autonomous vehicle research subsidiary of Alphabet Inc, Levandowski allegedly “downloaded 9.7 GB of Waymo’s highly confidential files and trade secrets, including blueprints, design files, and testing documentation” before resigning to found Otto.
In March 2017, United States District Judge William Haskell Alsup, referred the case to federal prosecutors after Levandowski exercised his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. In May 2017, Judge Alsup ordered Levandowski to refrain from working on Otto’s Lidar and required Uber to disclose its discussions on the technology. Levandowski was later fired by Uber for failing to cooperate in an internal investigation.
The lawsuit was settled in February 2018.
Anthony Levandowski Charged
After he left his job at Waymo he started his own company: driverless-truck start-up Otto. Uber soon bought Otto, reportedly for $680 million, and put Levandowski in charge of Uber’s driverless project. Uber fired him in 2017 after Waymo brought a lawsuit. https://t.co/MB9bXwJ5zd
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) August 27, 2019
former Google engineer has been charged with stealing closely guarded secrets that he later sold to Uber as the ride-hailing service scrambled to catch up in the high-stakes race to build self-driving vehicles.
The indictment filed by the U.S. Attorney’s office in San Jose, California, Tuesday is an offshoot of a lawsuit filed in 2017 by Waymo, a self-driving car pioneer spun off from Google.
Uber agreed to pay Waymo $245million to settle the case, but the federal judge overseeing the lawsuit made an unusual recommendation to open a criminal probe.
Uber considered having self-driving technology crucial to surviving.
Anthony Levandowski, a pioneer in robotic vehicles, was charged with 33 counts of trade secrets theft. He could be sentenced up to 10 years and fined $250,000 per count, $8.25million altogether.
BREAKING: Former Waymo and Uber self-driving car engineer Anthony Levandowski has been indicted on 33 federal charges of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets. If convicted, he will face 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count. https://t.co/UCH8FZcCbn
— WIRED (@WIRED) August 27, 2019
Fast Facts You Need to Know
- Anthony Levandowski, a pioneer in robotic vehicles, was charged with 33 counts of trade secrets theft Tuesday
- He is accused of stealing closely guarded secrets of self-driving technology from Waymo that he later sold to Uber
- He could be sentenced up to 10 years and fined $250,000 per count, $8.25million altogether
- Waymo, which spun off from Google in 2016, alleged that Levandowski downloaded 14,000 documents containing its trade secrets before he left
- Uber agreed to pay Waymo $245million to settle the case, but the federal judge made an unusual recommendation to open a criminal probe