Pronto.ai, a company developing Level 2 automated technology for trucks that controls braking, throttling and steering, named Robbie Miller its new CEO following the announcement that previous CEO Anthony Levandowski was formally charged for stealing trade secrets from Google subsidiary Waymo related to self-driving technology.
Levandowski is facing 33 criminal counts from the U.S. attorney's office of the Northern District of California related to his time at Google, and then Otto, the start-up he founded and later sold to Uber.
In a statement, Pronto said “the criminal charges filed against Anthony relate exclusively to Lidar and do not in any way involve Pronto’s ground-breaking technology.”
The company added: "Robbie is an experienced and respected autonomous vehicle industry veteran. Under his leadership, we will continue to deliver on our mission of bringing a new layer of safety to commercial trucking.”
Miller previously held leadership positions at Uber and Otto, and managed test operations of Google’s self-driving cars.
“Over the past decade working in the AV industry I’ve seen a focus on delivering hype to the detriment of safety," Miller said. "Until Pronto, I had not seen a program come close to delivering a product that makes the roads safer. Pronto is delivering real safety benefits built on world-class tech from a world-class team.”
Pronto’s technology is called Copilot and its technology performs on any highway, without high definition maps. The company burst on the scene late last year after Levandowski posted a video of an autonomous, cross-country trip he took in a Toyota Prius.
Levandowski first gained notoriety for building a driverless motorcycle. He worked on Google’s self-driving car project, and then co-founded Otto, the company acquired by Uber famous for its autonomous beer delivery in Colorado.
In 2017, Google sued Uber, leading to Levandowski departing the company and Uber settling for about $245 million.
Levandowski’s attorneys have denied any wrongdoing, saying that any file downloads took place while still working at Google.
However Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told Bloomberg News last week it appears as if Levandowski took information on self-driving cars from Google. Khosrowshahi was not with Uber during the time of the dispute with Google.