If Donald Trump had won reelection last fall, Anthony Levandowski, one of the most prominent developers of self-driving cars and trucks, would currently be in prison as Inmate No. 25728-111.
Instead, on the last day of his presidency Trump pardoned Levandowski, thanks to several people Levandowski knew who were close to Trump adviser Peter Thiel, a tech investor and entrepreneur. The pardon paved the way for the 41-year-old Levandowski this summer to reclaim the CEO role at a self-driving–vehicle startup he co-founded in 2018. And in a lengthy interview with The Information, Levandowski revealed that the startup, Pronto.ai, has changed course from its original focus on big-rig trucks that travel on highways to dump trucks that haul metals and minerals.