Uber fires star self-driving vehicle researcher

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Waymo, Google's self-driving vehicle company, is suing Uber for allegedly using technology stolen by Levandowski while he was still at Google.

This article was corrected at 3:42 p.m. ET because the original version ncorrectly stated in the first paragraph that Anthony Levandowski was sacked on Monday.

The letter also revealed that Uber required Levandowski to have "returned or destroyed all property and confidential information belonging to any prior employer" as a condition of his employment.

The case prompted Levandowski in April to temporarily step aside as Uber's top self-driving auto executive and avoid working on anything related to lidar, an array of sensors that enables autonomous vehicles to navigate the roads.

Levandowski didn't immediately respond to a phone message AP left on Tuesday asking him for comment. He has repeatedly cited his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination when asked about his actions, and he has declined to comply with a judge's recent order to turn over the documents he allegedly stole from Google.

The lawsuit threatens to derail Uber's self-driving auto project, which has been pitched as the future of the ride-hailing juggernaut.

Now comes word via The New York Times that Uber has since let Levandowski go. Uber has insisted for years that it needs to be first to the market with self-driving cars, or the company will be at risk. "Footnote 9 of the Order specifically states that 'in complying with this order, Uber has no excuse under the Fifth Amendment to pull any punches as to Levandowski'". Alsup ordered Uber to ensure its work on lidar remains off limits to Levandowski.

An Uber spokesperson said Tuesday that Levandowski, formerly head of the company's Advanced Technologies Group, was dismissed because he failed to meet a deadline related to an internal investigation into the case.

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