Anthony Levandowski, the Uber self-driving engineer at the center of Waymo's lawsuit against the company, stepped down from his position as head of Uber's Advanced Technology Group and moved to a different role within Uber.
In an email to Uber employees published by Business Insider last week, Levandowski said he will no longer work on projects involving lidar sensors. The lidar technology Uber is developing is at the heart of a lawsuit with Waymo, which claims Levandowski stole its lidar designs when he left Google, Waymo's parent company, to join Uber.
Levandowski will continue to work on his other responsibilities while Eric Meyhofer, who led the self-driving hardware team, will assume the role of head of Uber's ATG. An Uber spokesperson confirmed the email.
"I will have absolutely no oversight over or input into our lidar work," Levandowski wrote. "Going forward, please make sure not to include me in meetings or email threads related to LiDAR, or ask me for advice on the topic."
Waymo filed a lawsuit against Uber in February. Levandowski left Google in January 2016 to launch Otto, a self-driving truck startup. Uber acquired Otto in August for $680 million, hiring Levandowski to lead the ATG, a move Waymo claims was orchestrated to obtain its lidar designs that Levandowski allegedly stole when he left Google.
According to the suit, Waymo said it became aware of the stolen designs when a supplier accidentally emailed sensor designs for Uber to Waymo that were identical to Waymo's sensors.
Uber called the case "a baseless attempt to slow down a competitor," while Waymo said Uber has withheld a device from the court that uses Waymo's designs.
In March, Waymo filed a preliminary injunction to halt Uber's self-driving technology operations. Waymo's case for the injunction will be heard this month.
Levandowski said he will invoke his Fifth Amendment rights. But a judge ruled in April that those rights would not extend to a due diligence report on Otto, which could prove to be a key document in the case.