Former Apple Engineer Pleads Guilty to Stealing Apple Car Secrets

Former Apple employee Xiaolang Zhang today pleaded guilty to theft of trade secrets, which could get him up to ten years in prison, reports CNBC. Zhang was first hired by Apple in December 2015 to work on Project Titan, developing software and hardware for autonomous vehicles.

Apple car wheel icon feature blue
As part of the Compute Team, Zhang designed and tested circuit boards to analyze sensor data, and he was given access to Apple's secure and confidential internal databases. In April 2018, Zhang left Apple for Chinese startup XMotors, and shortly after, Apple found that he had stolen sensitive Apple Car development data and hardware.

In July 2018, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation charged Zhang with theft of trade secrets, and he was arrested shortly after for attempting to leave the country. Zhang this week took a plea bargain, which is under seal with the U.S. government.

Along with up to 10 years in prison, Zhang could have to pay up to $250,000 in fines. Sentencing is scheduled for November 14.

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Top Rated Comments

jinnj Avatar
23 months ago

I cannot wait to see the notch in the new XMotor's windshield… However the revolutionary mag charger could be a pretty sweet addition.
Notch already exists... rear view mirror
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
seanmills1020 Avatar
23 months ago
Zhang Ten! ?‍♂️
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
23 months ago
Looks like he’ll be designing an Apple car in jail.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SD449 Avatar
23 months ago
Hopefully he’s active in the Jailbreak community

I’ll get me coat…
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wilberforce Avatar
23 months ago

No one else finds it jarring that the US Govt can *put someone in jail* for breaking an employment contract with a tech company?!
It is not just an employment contract, it is intellectual property, which is just as valuable as real property.
The US system is based on strong property rights and aggressive enforcement of them, and arguably one of the biggest contributors to US economic success. Countries with weak property rights often suffer economically.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
seanmills1020 Avatar
23 months ago

Apple was so far behind in the auto-driving game, what could he have possibly stolen of value? Car color schemes?
He stole secrets regarding Apple’s revolutionary self-driving technology.

AIRTIRES. ?
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)