Monday, January 30, 2023

A second act seems in preparation for Anthony Levandowski

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Hello, session card readers.

Just hours before Joe Biden’s inauguration, President Donald Trump has granted an avalanche of pardons, including those to former White House strategist Stephen Bannon and other longtime political allies.

But some pardons came as a surprise: the White House announced the pardons of rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black.

Trump also granted clemency to Anthony Levandowski, the former Google engineer sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing trade secrets from the tech giant’s self-driving car unit. At the time of sentencing, US District Judge William Alsup called it “the greatest trade secret crime. that I’ve never seen. “

Levandowski was a founding member of Google’s Self-Driving Car Project before it was known as Waymo. In 2016, the engineer left to found an autonomous car start-up called Otto, a company acquired a few months later. by Uber. But it later turned out to have taken thousands of files from the project. Uber sacked Levandowski in 2017 before settling its own lawsuit against Alphabet.

Levandowski pleaded guilty to stealing trade secrets and was forced into bankruptcy after a San Francisco court said he should pay $ 179 million to Google.

Late Tuesday, the White House said that “Levandowski’s sentencing judge called him ‘a brilliant revolutionary engineer our country needed. Mr. Levandowski has paid a considerable price for his actions and plans to devote his talents to the advancement of the public good. “

Grace was backed by a series of notable Silicon Valley players, including venture capitalist Peter Thiel, founder of Anduril Palmer Luckey and former Walt disney Michael Ovitz.

“My family and I are grateful for the opportunity to move forward, and grateful to the president and others who have supported and defended on my behalf,” Levandowski wrote on Twitter. From Uber, Levandowski co-founded another standalone startup, Pronto.

It’s hard to imagine Alphabet being happy to hear the news, however. When asked for a statement, her Waymo self-driving car unit said she had no comments to add.

BONANZA CAR: In pursuit of the next You’re here in the electric car arena and in the so-called $ 7 trillion self-driving car economy, auto startups are raking in dollars. Electric vehicle company Rivian has raised $ 2.7 billion as it prepares to market an SUV this summer. T. Rowe Price Associates led the cycle and was joined by investors such as Fidelity, Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, Coatue and D1 Capital Partners. The round assesses the company at nearly 28 billion dollars.

Self-driving car company Cruise, meanwhile, raised $ 2 billion, pushing its valuation to $ 30 billion. GM-supported business added Microsoft as a new investor as it prepares to start charging rates this year in San Francisco.


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