Having to appear on stage at an international tech conference just days after being named in a major lawsuit couldn’t have been fun for Anthony Levandowski.
The cofounder of Otto, the self-driving truck startup, indeed looked a tad fatigued on stage today at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona. After Otto was acquired last year by Uber, Levandowski was placed in charge of all of Uber’s self-driving vehicle efforts.
But last week, Alphabet’s Waymo unit filed a lawsuit against him, claiming he had stolen huge amounts of intellectual property before leaving to start Otto. The lawsuit was unusually detailed, and it was particularly harsh given that Levandowski is often credited with essentially starting Google’s self-driving car project about a decade ago.
Not surprisingly for a big mobile industry conference, the subject did not come up during the interview on stage. Neither did Uber’s confrontation with the state of California. After launching a trial of its self-driving cars last year in San Francisco, the state objected that the company did not have the required permits.
Uber responded by relocating its self-driving car efforts to Arizona. It continues development and a pilot in Pittsburgh. Last week, it launched another pilot in Phoenix.
Asked generally about how important regulatory issues are, Levandowski said: “We want to make sure that we’re working with governments to improve safety.”