FBI Arrests An Apple Employee For Stealing Driverless Car Trade Secrets

Posted by at 3:01 pm on July 11, 2018

A former Apple employee has been accused of stealing the company’s self-driving car secrets and trying to flee to China with them.

Xiaolang Zhang worked on Apple’s driverless car project but allegedly planned to move to Chinese autonomous vehicle start-up Xiaopeng Motors, the company says in court documents.

He was arrested at San Jose airport, California, on 7 July.

The FBI has charged him with stealing trade secrets.

Xiaopeng Motors says it did not receive any “sensitive information” from Mr Zhang and said it was co-operating with the FBI.

According to the court documents, Mr Zhang was hired in 2015 to develop software and hardware for Apple’s autonomous vehicle project.

However, after visiting China in April 2018 he told his supervisor he planned to move to the country to work for Xiaopeng Motors.

The supervisor informed Apple’s security team, which found that Zhang had downloaded “copious pages of information” from secret databases and had taken hardware from its autonomous vehicle lab, the court documents allege.

The FBI said the data taken included “engineering schematics, technical reference manuals, and technical reports”.

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