Google reportedly paid the self-driving car executive at the center of its lawsuit against Uber $120 million before he left the company.
Anthony Levandowski, a former Google employee who went on to found the now Uber-owned driverless truck company Otto, collected $120 million from Google, according to CNBC.
A lawsuit claims Levandowski was trying to staff up his autonomous trucking start-up while he still worked at Google, but waited until he got his payout to make details public.
Levandowski is being accused in court of stealing Google’s autonomous vehicle sensor technology. Waymo, Google’s driverless car program, has filed a lawsuit claiming that Otto’s technology was built using thousands of documents and trade secrets stolen by Levandowski shortly before he left Google.
Uber calls the allegations “a baseless attempt to slow down a competitor.” The ride-hailing firm has been aggressively pushing to bring self-driving cars to the masses. Uber began testing driverless cars in some of its fleets last year and quickly snapped up Otto not long after it was founded.
Legal filings also allege that while Levandowski was at Google, he was involved with two competing side businesses — Odin Wave and Tyto Lidar — and tried to poach employees from Google, according to CNBC.
“Throughout this process, Levandowski never disclosed a relationship with Tyto and its employees,” the lawsuit said. “Google now believes that Levandowski in fact had a relationship with Tyto and its employees that conflicted with Levandowski’s duties to Google.”