Droz testifies that on January 5th, 2016, he and Levandowski were walking around Google's Mountain View-based campus, talking about the future. "During this walk, he told me specifically that he wanted his new company to have a long-range LiDAR, which is very useful for self-driving truck applications he was interested in," Droz says. "He also told me that he planned to 'replicate' this Waymo technology at his new company."
The conversation didn't surprise him, Droz testified, because he could recall a previous time when Levandowski told him that he had met with Brian McClendon, the former of head of Google Maps who now helped run Uber's self-driving car project, in the summer of 2015. "We were having dinner at a restaurant near the office, and he told me that it would be nice to create a new self-driving car startup and that Uber would be interested in buying the team responsible for the LiDAR we were developing at Google," Droz said according to court documents.
He also reports that a colleague told him that Levandowski was spotted at Uber's headquarters sometime in January 2016, shortly before he left to form Otto. "I asked Mr. Levandowski about this, and he admitted he had met with Uber, and the reason he was there was that he was looking for investors for his new company," Droz testifies.
If Waymo can prove that Uber knew Levandowski had stolen intellectual property from Waymo before agreeing to acquire his company Otto for $680 million, the result could be devastating.
"If Waymo prevails after a long suit and a sequence of appeals, the nature of the compensation and fines could be staggering," Raj Rajkumar, professor of engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, told The Verge. "If Waymo can show that Uber knew that Otto [would] have Waymo's LIDAR designs, I don't see how Uber can attract additional large institutional investors."