Google court filing names a second source for Uber's lifted robo-car plans
And that's not all: a redaction slip identifies Lior Ron as Levandowski's co-accused
A tired court clerk has accidentally unmasked the co-accused in Google's case against Anthony Levandowski and his autonomous car business Ottomotto – it's his co-founder Lior Ron.
The slip pops up on the last page of an exhibit filed in the case of Google v Levandowski and Ron on April 3. That's the case in which Google accuses Levandowski and Otto, which was acquired by Uber for US$680m last year, of using improperly appropriated google blueprints as the basis for its own robo-car efforts.
In the newly-revealed demand for arbitration, Google now says Levandowski and Ron were white-anting its efforts for much longer.
“In the late Summer or Fall of 2015”, the demand for arbitration alleges, Levandowski and Ron used their access to inside information “to target and recruit valuable Google employees” to join them at Otto.
They concealed their activities from Google, and Levandowski was able to collect a breathtaking US$120 million in incentive payments for his “supposed contributions to Google's self-driving car project”. The quantity of incentives Ron may have collected aren't mentioned.
The filing (PDF) identifies Levandowski's work as leading the team that worked on LiDAR sensors for autonomous vehicles (Light Detection and Ranging, to help a car “see” what's around it).
At the time he and Lewandowski created Otto, Ron was working as a “high-level advisor” on map projects.
Levandowski's side-projects go even further back: the document accuses him of setting up two pre-Otto companies, Odin Wave and Tyto Lidar. A vendor tip-off led Google to investigate Odin Wave in 2013, but he denied any involvement in it. Google says it believes a friend of Levandowski called Ognen Stojanovski acted as a front for Odin Wave, which later merged with Tyto Lidar.
Later, as a Google employee, Levandowski took part in discussions about whether the Chocolate Factory should buy Tyto Lidar's patents or simply acquire the company outright. ®