Aug 7, 2018

Otto co-founder comes back to Uber to lead freight business

Uber app icon. Photo: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

Lior Ron, who co-founded Otto, the controversial self-driving truck company Uber acquired two years ago, is back after leaving in March to lead Uber Freight — which will now be a standalone unit and not include autonomous driving development.

Why it matters: Uber spent a year in court over Waymo's allegations that Ron and his co-founder plotted with Uber to steal its trade secrets. Now, Ron's return makes clear that Uber sees trucking as a huge business opportunity.

The deal: According to Uber, it never fully closed its acquisition of Otto's entities, which is why it's been renegotiating the deal behind the scenes for quite some time.

  • As Uber told Jalopnik last September, its acquisition of Otto's self-driving tech business (legally named "Ottomoto") closed in August 2016, but not that of its trucking business (legally named "Otto Trucking"), which is what's being renegotiated.
  • As part of the new terms, Otto Trucking shareholders will get a stake in Uber Freight.
  • Anthony Levandowski, Ron's co-founder who was at the center of the lawsuit from Waymo, will sell his shares of Otto Trucking to a venture capital firm, according to Bloomberg which first reported Ron's return, though an Uber spokesperson declined to share further details.

Go deeper

Acting Navy head apologizes for calling fired captain "stupid"

Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly testifies on Capitol Hill in December. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly apologized Monday for calling Capt. Brett Crozier, the ousted commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, "too naive or too stupid" over his letter pleading for help following a coronavirus outbreak onboard.

The big picture: His apology came after President Trump told a news briefing earlier Monday he would "get involved" following a leak of Modly's remarks on Crozier to the ship's crew, obtained by CNN.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 17 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 1,346,299 — Total deaths: 74,679 — Total recoveries: 276,636Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 367,507— Total deaths: 10,908 — Total recoveries: 19,598Map.
  3. 2020 update: Wisconsin Supreme Court blocks governor's attempt to delay in-person primary voting delayed until June.
  4. States latest: West Coast states send ventilators to New York and other states with more immediate need — Data suggest coronavirus curve may be flattening in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
  5. World update: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson moved to intensive care as coronavirus symptoms worsen.
  6. Stocks latest: The S&P 500 closed up 7% on Monday, while the Dow rose more than 1,500 points.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Former Vatican treasurer George Pell's sexual abuse convictions overturned

Cardinal George Pell at the County Court in Melbourne, Australia, in 2019. Photo: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

George Pell, the former Vatican treasurer, has won his appeal and had his child sexual abuse convictions overturned by Australia's High Court.

Why it matters: The cardinal became last year the highest-ranking Catholic Church official to go to trial and be convicted for sex abuse. But the High Court's ruling means he can be immediately released from prison, where he was serving a six-year sentence.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - World