Kalanick delivers a speech at the Third Netease Future Technology Conference on June 28, 2016 in Beijing. Photo: Wang K'aichicn / VCG / VCG via Getty Images

Ex-Uber CEO Travis Kalanick admitted in testimony in the Waymo-Uber trial Tuesday that he saw Google (later Waymo) as the leader in self-driving cars, and that his company needed to catch up as a matter of its future existence.

Why it matters: Waymo, which is suing Uber for allegedly stealing some of its trade secrets, is continuing with its narrative that the ride-hailing company and its chief were on a mission to get ahead in the race at all costs. Eventually, according to Waymo, that included cheating, in the form of acquiring a former Waymo executive's new startup and using tech he had brought with him.

More from Kalanick:

  • He admitted to growing unhappy with Uber's initial self-driving car division's progress (its sensors were too big and expensive). "We definitely needed to get a commercial orientation,” he said.
  • Uber's eventual acquisition of Otto, founded by former Waymo exec Anthony Levandowski, was a sort of compromise. "I wanted to hire Anthony and he wanted to start a company, so I wanted to come up with a situation where he could feel like he started a company, and I could feel like I hired him,” he said on Tuesday.

What's next: Kalanick will continue his testimony Wednesday morning.

Go deeper

The apocalypse scenario

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democratic lawyers are preparing to challenge any effort by President Trump to swap electors chosen by voters with electors selected by Republican-controlled legislatures. One state of particular concern: Pennsylvania, where the GOP controls the state house.

Why it matters: Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, together with a widely circulated article in The Atlantic about how bad the worst-case scenarios could get, is drawing new attention to the brutal fights that could jeopardize a final outcome.

Federal judge rules Trump administration can't end census early

Census workers outside Lincoln Center in New York. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled late Thursday that the Trump administration could not end the 2020 census a month early.

Why it matters: The decision states that an early end — on Sept. 30, instead of Oct. 31 — would likely produce inaccuracies and thus impact political representation and government funding around the country.

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Where bringing students back to school is most risky

Data: Coders Against COVID; Note: Rhode Island and Puerto Rico did not meet minimum testing thresholds for analysis. Values may not add to 100% due to rounding; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Schools in Southern and Midwestern states are most at risk of coronavirus transmission, according to an analysis by Coders Against COVID that uses risk indicators developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The big picture: Thankfully, schools have not yet become coronavirus hotspots, the Washington Post reported this week, and rates of infection are lower than in the surrounding communities. But that doesn't mean schools are in the clear, especially heading into winter.

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