Former Google engineer charged in trade secrets theft case

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A former Google engineer is being charged with stealing closely guarded secrets that he later sold to Uber as the ride-hailing service scrambled to catch up in the high-stakes race to build robotic vehicles.

The indictment filed Tuesday by the U.S. Attorney’s office in San Jose, California, is an offshoot of a lawsuit filed in 2017 by Waymo, a self-driving car pioneer spun off from Google. Uber agreed to pay Waymo $245 million to settle the case, but the federal judge overseeing the lawsuit made an unusual recommendation to open a criminal probe.

Uber considered having self-driving technology crucial to survive.

Anthony Levandowski, a pioneer in robotic vehicles, was charged with 33 counts of trade secrets theft. He could be sentenced up to 10 years and fined $250,000 per count.

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