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Ex-Apple employee confessed to stealing blueprints for a self-driving car. It runs on XPeng

In 2018, former Apple employee Xiaolang Zhang was arrested at San Jose International Airport on his way to China. Zhang was accused of handing over a 25-page document that included circuit board engineering drawings as well as technical manuals for Apple’s self-driving car prototype. Zhang recently pleaded guilty to charges of stealing confidential information. The trial, where the verdict is expected, is scheduled for November 14, 2022. The ex-Apple employee faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Prior to his arrest, Xiaolang Zhang worked as a hardware engineer at Apple and was part of a team that designs and tests sensor chips. Apple first suspected an employee of stealing when he submitted his resignation right after a vacation with the intention of returning to China to look after his ailing mother. It later turned out that Zhang had partnered with XPeng Motors, an electric vehicle manufacturer that is also developing its own autonomous driving technology.

Apple immediately closed access to its resources and launched an investigation, during which it turned out that Zhang transferred gigabytes of data via AirDrop. In addition, CCTV cameras recorded how he was taking equipment out of the laboratories.

Meanwhile, Apple continues to keep details of the development of its self-driving car under wraps. Last year, Bloomberg reported that the Cupertinos are focusing on autonomous driving technology and intend to release an electric car in 2025.

Source: Trash Box

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