It has been a rollercoaster week for Uber following Travis Kalanick's step-down as the company's chief executive. The company has faced a ton of controversies during his reign so it is no surprise that the troubled Kalanick succumbed to intense pressure.
But Kalanick seems to be a magnet to troubles. Now that he is out, a new story involving his hands in Uber's case with Waymo pertaining to Anthony Levandowski is chasing after him. According to a court document filed on Wednesday, it was found out that Kalanick knew that Levandowski, the so-called star engineer from Google, had Google's data on self-driving car scheme even before headhunting him.
The court document details the sworn statement of Uber in response to Waymo, Google's division working on a self-driving car project. In March 2016, Levandowski is said to have told Kalanick and other people at Uber that he had five discs containing Google's information on its ongoing self-driving car project.
Kalanick refused Levandowski to bring in the information to Uber because they do not need it. The star engineer later told Uber that he had destroyed the disk. Waymo's lawsuit accuses Levandowski of carrying with him the trade secrets and patented materials when he joined the ride-hailing firm and Uber of being aware of the situation, encouraging the theft.
Levandowski worked for Google's self-driving car endeavor. He left the search titan in January 2016 to establish a startup developing autonomous trucks called Otto. In August, Uber acquired Otto for US$680 million, but Levandowski already worked with the company a couple of months before the acquisition.
The court previously ordered Uber to return the stolen files. Uber delivered the explanation to Waymo's questions on 3 June, over two months later than the 31 March deadline of the court. Now, Waymo is asking the court to order Uber's explanation on why it should not be held in contempt of court for missing the deadline.