Former Chinese worker pleads guilty to stealing Apple car secrets

Former Chinese worker pleads guilty to stealing Apple car secrets

San Francisco, Aug 23 (IANS) An Apple employee of Chinese origin pleaded guilty in a US court to stealing trade secrets about the company’s automotive car division.

The Apple car that Apple plans to unveil in 2024 was allegedly downloaded by Xiaolang Zhang.

CNBC reported late on Monday that Zhang could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In November, he will be sentenced.

Among the Apple files Zhang downloaded were “engineering schematics for an autonomous vehicle circuit board”.

The report also claimed that he took reference manuals and PDFs describing Apple’s prototypes and prototype requirements.

In an internal investigation, Apple discovered that he transferred around 24GB of sensitive data to his wife’s laptop using AirDrop.

The company’s autonomous vehicle lab also provided him with circuit boards and a server.

In 2018, Zhang was arrested at the San Jose airport in the US while trying to fly to China.

A second former employee, Jizhong Chen, is also being charged with stealing trade secrets from Apple’s electric car division.

As part of its efforts to develop a self-driving car, Apple has filed several patents related to ride comfort, including seats and suspension systems.

According to media reports, Apple is also developing vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology that allows cars to communicate with each other and connect to the Internet of Things (IoT).

Hyundai Motor was reportedly in talks with Apple about self-driving technology in January last year. Later, the South Korean automaker denied this.

Self-driving ambitions remain a closely guarded secret at Apple.