Tuesday 27 August 2019 9:56 pm

Former Uber driverless guru charged with stealing secrets from Google

One of Uber’s former star engineers is facing years in prison after he was yesterday charged with stealing secrets from Google.

Anthony Levandowski, one of the world’s leading developers of driverless technology, allegedly took information with him when he left the search giant’s Waymo unit.

Read more: Car crash: Uber shows record loss in new results

The engineer also faces a possible fine if convicted. His lawyers yesterday denied the allegations, and said they will prove he is innocent.

Prosecutors at the US Department of Justice claim that Levandowski took materials from Google after deciding to form his own company developing self-driving technology.

The information included details on sensor technologies.

US attorney David Anderson said that employees “cannot … stuff our pockets on the way out the door”. He did not say whether Uber would also face charges.

The taxi company got involved in 2016 when it bought Levandowski’s Ottomotto firm to boost its self-driving arm.

Read more: Uber files to go public as losses mount

“Silicon Valley is not the Wild West,” said FBI special agent John Bennett.

 “The fast pace and competitive environment does not mean federal laws don’t apply or they can be ignored.”