Former Apple employee is accused of stealing trade secrets about autonomous driving

A former Apple employee allegedly stole commercial secrets from the company in order to give it to his new employer, according to a Mercury News publication. Secret information mainly concerned the technology of autonomous driving – a part of Apple that has been working for years in this area under extreme secrecy, away from the spotlight.

The person who stole the data is called Xiaolang Zhang, and was caught by federal agents at San Jose International Airport while purchasing a “last seconds” air ticket for China from Hainan Airlines.

According to a tweet by journalist Henry K. Lee, Zhang stole secret documents from Apple while working in the company, and explained to the authorities that he had placed the data on his wife’s laptop. The accused has been convicted today of the theft of commercial secrets by the US District Court in northern California.

Both sources claim that Zhang was about to work for XMotors, a company that claims to build “smart-coupled and power-driven cars of the next generation. The company is also known as Xiaopeng Motors.

XMotors has offices in Beijing and Quangchus, as well as in Mountain View, California, but it is a fact that it does not have a great history in its business. The company’s Twitter account reports there are big investors behind its venture, such as Alibaba, Foxconn and IDG Capital, and has developed an electric car called XPeng G3.

According to News Mercury, Zhang received “broad access to confidential internal databases” as part of his work in a group that develops autonomous cars. After informing Apple that he would leave the company and work for XMotors, Apple researchers secretly searched his two mobile phones and his laptop and discovered that he had downloaded confidential Apple files.

Zheng eventually admitted that he eventually stole the secret documents when he was arrested by the FBI.

A profile of LinkedIn apparently belonging to Zhang indicates that it has worked with Apple since December 2015 and that it has previously spent more than four years at Marvell Semiconductor. The specific documents and data received from Apple are unknown to the general public and may remain as a secret seal in the future as well.