One of Silicon Valley’s leading experts on self-driving cars has been charged by a federal grand jury with 33 counts of stealing and plotting to steal trade secrets from Google.
The indictment handed down in San Jose on Tuesday accuses Anthony Levandowski of illegally downloading some 14,000 files with confidential information about Google’s autonomous vehicle research before leaving the firm for a job at Uber in 2016.
According to federal prosecutors, the 39-year-old Marin County resident was a founding member of the team handling Google’s self-driving car project, which he worked on from 2009 until his abrupt resignation in the early part of 2016.
Per the indictment, Levandowski joined Uber later that year after the ride-hailing company bought a self-driving truck startup he founded called Ottomotto.
Some of the files Levandowski pilfered from Google, according to federal prosecutors, included proprietary schematics for circuit boards and designs for light sensor technologies used in self-driving cars.
U.S. Attorney David Anderson condemned the alleged crimes in a press release announcing the indictment. “All of us have the right to change jobs,” he said. “None of us has the right to fill our pockets on the way out the door. Theft is not innovation.”
Click here to read the indictment.