Fury Road: Did Uber Steal the Driverless Future From Google?

Issue 03-20-17   |   Reviewer:   Katherine Campbell, Ph.D.


Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick has admitted that he needs leadership help. And his company’s responses to issues including sexual harassment claims illustrate a complex corporate culture where elements may be odds with each other.

Tech companies, however, are not known for their nurturing corporate cultures, and their leaders are often as infamous as famous. While seeming to snowball in recent days, at a larger level, Uber’s recent public relations issues may not be extraordinary for this industry. The complexity of tech world cultures and personalities are at the heart of a fight between Google and Uber over the future of driverless technology. 

In the tech world, genius and innovation are prized, and many personalities that would not be tolerated in more traditional work environments are given free reign because of their brilliance. Anthony Levandowski is such a figure. Once a founding member of Google’s driverless car team, Levandowski’s move to Uber has led to a court case between the two companies. Google alleges that Levandowski stole trade secrets and infringed patents. While the profits from driverless technology may hang in the balance, the legal battle between Uber and Google is putting the leadership and corporate cultures of both businesses and their industry under a spotlight.

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