An Apple engineer who worked on the development of self-driving cars from 2015 to 2018 is said to have stolen 24 GB of data and hardware from an Apple lab. After his termination, he wanted to work for the Chinese company Guangzhou Xiaopeng Motors Technology – a transfer of the stolen data to China thus seems likely.
Notice in the context of the termination
The suspicion of the data transfer was aroused by the employee himself. In the context of his resignation from Apple, he pointed out that in the future he would be working for the Chinese company Guangzhou Xiaopeng Motors Technology. This company is better known as Xpeng and produces electric cars. Apple subsequently launched an investigation, which found that a total of 24 GB of data had been transferred to the engineer’s wife’s notebook via airdrop. Hardware was also allegedly stolen from an Apple lab. The former Apple engineer has since pleaded guilty. He faces a prison sentence of up to ten years and/or a heavy fine. The sentence is to be announced on November 14, 2022.
Similar case at Tesla
At the car manufacturer Tesla, there had been a similar case some time ago. Here, a former employee is accused of stealing the source code for Autopilot, which enables autonomous driving. In a hearing, the accused admitted to transferring the data to his iCloud account; however, he denied passing it on. Meanwhile, he also works for Guangzhou Xiaopeng Motors Technology.
The publicly traded company is based in China’s Guangdong province and is funded by contract manufacturer Foxconn and Internet company Alibaba, among others. The company is on the rise in China, selling just 317 vehicles in 2018, but more than 98,000 last year. The company has also been active in the Norwegian market since 2020. The latest vehicle, the SUV G9, is also to be offered in other European countries.