Former Apple Employee Admits to Leaking Car Project Secrets

A former Apple Inc. employee has pleaded guilty, admitting that he shared trade secrets of the Apple Car project with another electric vehicle (EV) maker.

According to a CNBC news report, Xiaolang Zhang left his job at Apple to work for Guangzhou Xiaopeng Motors Technology, a Chinese EV maker better known as Xpeng.

Apple learned during the investigation that Zhang had stolen about 24GB of qualified information, circuit boards, and a server from the company’s autonomous vehicle lab.

In the US, stealing trade secrets can result in a maximum prison sentence of up to 10 years, and up to a $250,000 fine. However, Zhang’s hearing will be finalized at a conference scheduled for November 14th.

CNBC highlights that this is not the first time an Apple ex-employee has leaked trade secrets. It adds that an employee was caught having committed a similar crime that includes stealing manuals, schematics, diagrams, and photographs from Apple’s car project and smuggling them to China.

In another instance that includes Xpeng, a Tesla Inc. employee shared the source code of the company’s auto-pilot system with the former. Following that revelation, Xpeng told The Verge that it “respects any third-party’s intellectual property rights and confidential information.”

Apple Car is one of the most anticipated upcoming vehicles in history due to several intriguing stories and rumors that surround it. While the exact launch date is unknown, reports suggest that Apple Car will debut in 2025.

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