Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. The Otto co-founder and a former lead of the cab aggregator’s self driving car project has been fired due to his role in the ongoing dispute with Waymo. Uber has already spent substantial efforts in the fight and this firing may be the first step towards an eventual resolution of the tiff between Uber and Waymo.
It should be remembered that Waymo has levied serious charges against Levandowski, in which it claims that the ex Google employee stole its car secrets, downloaded over 14 thousands files and used them to kick off its own startup Otto. Otto was later acquired by Uber, and Waymo claimed that it was a conspiracy to acquire its technology, which was being illegally used by Levandowski in Otto.
In the court battle that followed, Uber always maintained its innocence. Levandowski on the other hand, pretty much refused to say anything, using the fifth amendment as an excuse.
Uber had criticized his lack of compliance with his employment requirements at the company, and had warned Levandowski of consequences if he continued citing the fifth amendment to speak out in court, or even assist the internal investigation. Now the axe has fallen though, and Levandowski has been fired. This was confirmed via an internal memo circulated within the company.
Eric Meyhofer will continue leading Uber’s ATG group. Meanwhile, the dispute may be resolved much more quickly and amicably, now that the main perpetrator has been fired.