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.
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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