Former Apple engineer pleads responsible to stealing self-driving automotive secrets and techniques, faces ten years in jail


Summary: You might keep in mind the identify Xiaolang Zhang from a number of years in the past. He is a former Apple engineer who’s accused of stealing commerce secrets and techniques throughout his time on the firm’s self-driving automotive division between 2015 and 2018. Initially denying the fees, Zhang has now pleaded responsible to the fees and faces ten years in jail for his crimes.

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Back in 2018 federal brokers has stopped Zhang at San Jose International Airport earlier than flying to Beijing on a “last second” ticket. He was accused of transferring 24 GB of Apple information to his spouse’s laptop computer through AirDrop. The recordsdata included a 25-page doc containing PCB engineering schematics, in addition to technical manuals and PDFs associated to the corporate’s self-driving automotive prototype.

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Zhang was additionally filmed eradicating {hardware} from Apple’s Autonomous Vehicle Development Lab. This was later recognized as circuit boards and a Linux server.

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Zhang informed his Apple bosses in 2018 that he was leaving the agency and transferring to China to work at Chinese electrical car startup Guangzhou Xiaopeng Motors Technology, also referred to as Xpeng. He revealed his plans after getting back from a parental go away throughout which he traveled to China.

CNBC writes that Zhang has now pleaded responsible to the only theft of commerce secrets and techniques of the depend in San Jose federal courtroom. A felony conviction carries as much as ten years in jail and a $250,000 effective. His sentencing is due in November.

This just isn’t the one time that Apple workers have stolen commerce secrets and techniques associated to its autonomous automotive challenge. Jizhong Chen was charged with the identical crime in 2019. He additionally deliberate to journey to China and is represented by the identical lawyer Zhang used. A date for this trial has not been set.

Apple’s self-driving automotive ambitions have been round since 2014, when Tim Cook reportedly authorized the Titan challenge. At one level, it appeared that Apple deserted the automotive challenge and as an alternative targeted on exclusively about creating software program for autonomous automobiles for different automakers, however final 12 months’s report claims Apple’s electrical automotive might arrive as early as 2025.

Image courtesy Vanarama

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