Former Uber Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick was deposed for the second time in the case that saw Alphabet accuse his company of stealing a particular LiDAR technology from its self-driving subsidiary Waymo. While speaking to Alphabet’s attorneys last week, Mr. Kalanick once again detailed how he was striving to establish an autonomous driving partnership with Google before its self-driving unit was spun off as Waymo but was repeatedly refused by the Mountain View, California-based company.
Mr. Kalanick also said that both Alphabet CEO Larry Page and Waymo CEO John Krafcik were upset when Uber acquired Otto, an autonomous trucking startup founded by ex-Google engineer Anthony Lewandowski who’s at the center of the legal battle between the two, having been accused of stealing trade secrets from his former employer and using them in Uber’s own vehicles. During the deposition, Uber’s former chief revealed that Mr. Krafcik allegedly insulted Mr. Levandowski in a mass email following the $680 million acquisition of Otto in the summer of 2016, with Mr. Kalanick expressing bewilderment regarding that turn of events, stating that he cannot understand why an employer would insult their own worker just because they chose to go somewhere else. The exact contents of the email that was supposedly sent by Waymo CEO to numerous people weren’t revealed by Mr. Kalanick who later admitted that he also approached Google in regards to a potential flying car partnership. Much like his previous pitches, the one related to flying vehicles was also rejected by Mr. Page.
Alphabet CEO was also deposed as part of the ongoing dispute between Waymo and Uber, having previously frustrated the legal representatives of the San Francisco, California-based ride-hailing giant by claiming ignorance on a wide variety of topics he was questioned on and leading Uber to claim that he was consciously obstructing its efforts to defend itself against claims that it labeled as being completely fabricated by Alphabet with the goal of slowing down a major competitor. Uber recently told investors that it’s expecting to conclude its dispute with Waymo in the near future, without providing a more specific time frame for the resolution of the high-profile legal battle that it initially wanted to force into arbitration and keep it away from the public eye.