Former Google employee Anthony Levandowski has to go to prison for a year and a half for theft of trade secrets, TechCrunch reports Tuesday.

Levandowski worked at Google's subsidiary Waymo, but later switched to Uber. However, he kept information about Waymo's self-driving cars. Levandowski would later have sold this confidential information to Uber.

Levandowski confessed to guilt in March, which led to a reduced sentence. He also has to pay $ 756,500 (more than 643,000 euros) to Waymo and a fine of $ 95,000.

Levandowski's prison sentence commences at a later, yet to be determined time due to the corona pandemic. He should not be serving the prison sentence at home. "That would give any brilliant engineer the green light to steal trade secrets," said the judge. "A prison sentence is the answer to that."

Apologies to Google colleagues and family

Levandowski says the past 3.5 years have forced him to take responsibility. "I want to apologize to my Google colleagues for damaging their confidence. I also apologize to my family for the price they have paid and continue to pay for my actions."

Levandowski's lawyers emphasized at the end of July that there is no evidence that he has shared the trade secrets with anyone. "It was never in dispute that Levandowski owned some Google documents after quitting his job, but there is no evidence that he has used or shared any Google secrets with Uber employees or anyone else."

The lawyers pleaded for a year of house arrest and a $ 95,000 fine.

Levandowski files a lawsuit against Uber

For a long time, Levandowski was seen as a rising star in the field of technological developments for autonomous cars. He played an important role in setting up Google's division for this technology.

After he left Waymo, he founded Otto. That is a company for self-driving trucks. He sold Otto to Uber in 2016, where he worked as a top man in the self-driving car department.

Levandowski now says that he still needs to get money from Uber to take over his company. Last month, he filed a lawsuit against Uber asking for about $ 4.1 billion. That would be the value of Uber Freight, the branch for self-driving trucks.