If you thought the incredible Silicon Valley drama between Google-owned Waymo and ride-hailing giant Uber couldn’t get any more juicy, you were wrong. Now, thanks to court filings related to the case, it seems Tesla founder and CEO was the subject of some conversations between former Waymo head Anthony Levandowski and Uber’s Travis Kalanick. Specifically, Levandowski wanted to go on the offensive, and call out Musk “on his shit.”
The courtroom battle between Uber and Waymo over the actions of former Levandowski has revealed lots of interesting details regarding how much Uber and its CEO Travis Kalanick knew about Levandowski’s possession of material related to Waymo’s self-driving car program. Waymo, of course, alleges that its former head stole the data and delivered it to Uber on a silver platter, while Uber contends that no Waymo information was used in its own autonomous vehicle efforts.
After joining Uber, and before both he and Travis Kalanick were forced out the door (in unrelated circumstances, of course), Levandowski suggested to Kalanick that the two target Tesla’s Elon Musk. “We’ve got to start calling Elon on his shit,” Levandowski wrote to Kalanick in a text made public by a court filing. “I’m not on social media but let’s start ‘#faketesla’ and start give [sic] physics lessons about stupid shit Elon says.”
Levandowski also proposed tracking the number of crashes involving Tesla vehicles, in an apparent effort to cast doubt on the safety of the vehicles. Responses from Kalanick to Levandowski’s messages were not included in the court filing, so it’s unclear how the other side of the conversation went, but it’s a pretty interesting bit of insight into the self-driving car wars all the same.