Report begins to suss out who knew what and when in Waymo/Uber lawsuit

Old sweatshirts, bowling balls, Waymo data drives…

The Uber vs. Waymo self-driving car tech secrets case is heating up. Reports made public yesterday reveal that the central character in the case, engineer Anthony Levandowski, had direct communication with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick – who is currently not CEO – and both knew there were possibly some secrets from Google’s Waymo project literally in Levandowski’s closet.

According to a report prepared by cybersecurity firm Stroz Friedberg as part of Uber’s acquisition of self-driving trucking startup Otto, Levandowski came across some data disks in his home shortly after he left Google’s self-driving car project. He let Kalanick know, and the CEO said he wanted nothing to do with the disks, and to “do what he needed to do,” as in, get rid of them. Levandowski says he took the disks to a shredder, but records of that are… vague.

The report also details a long list of text messages amongst key figures in the case, computer forensics probes that turned up odd findings, key communications with HR and so on, but so far, there seems to be no smoking gun that Uber intentionally ported Google’s tech to their own self-driving car and truck projects. But, the billion-dollar-plus lawsuit is far from over, so stay tuned and check out all the latest updates.

Remember “EVs?” We just call them “cars” now

More car news now. In case you thought this electric car thing was just a passing fad, GM would like you to know it thinks otherwise. According to CEO Mary Barra, two more new EV models will be joining the Chevy Bolt in the next two years, and by 2023 – just about five years from now – Barra says GM will have 20 electric cars in their lineup. Also in the mix: vehicles that run on electricity generated from hydrogen-powered fuel cells.

Why fuel cells? Cars the run on hydrogen fuel cells are essentially zero-emission, just like pure electric cars, except you can gas ‘em up just like a gas powered car. The only byproduct from the process is pure water. GM and Honda have been working on fuel cell cars for years now, and California is constantly expanding their hydrogen filling station infrastructure, so it could be a bridge of sorts to an all-electric future but with the convenience of gas, as it were.

GM isn’t alone in their vision of an electric car lineup: Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, BMW, Volkswagen and many Japanese carmakers are all saying the future of driving is electric, so you might want to rethink those long-term oil stock investment plans.

Siri, is there anything good on?

Hey, we’ve got our hands on the new Apple TV 4K streaming box, and DT A/V editor Caleb Denison has been putting it to the test in the luxurious home theater room here at DT HQ.

Best new feature: definitely Siri integration for searching for your favorite shows, along with the 4K resolution update, of course. The new Apple TV also features “high dynamic range” or HDR support for improved picture quality, and the interface is lightning quick. Nit picks? Well, it is $180, which is a whole lot more – nearly double – that what you’ll pay for a competitor, notably Roku’s new top-of-the-line Ultra 4K streamer.

But if you’re a big-time Apple user and want to stay in the garden as it were, what can we say, it just works and very well at that. Check out Caleb’s full review.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Close to the Metal (computers and such) on Tuesday, Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.