Xiaolang Zhanga former Apple employee who pleaded guilty to stealing information about the company’s autonomous car development, was sentenced to 120 days in jail, to be followed by three-year sentence with supervision. Zhang was arrested back in 2018 at the San Jose International Airport as he was about to board a flight to China. He initially maintained his innocence until he changed his mind in 2022 and pleaded guilty to trade secret theft. In addition to being behind bars, he must to pay $146,984 in damages. Zhang originally faced up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

A former Apple employee worked as hardware engineer in autonomous vehicles with a code designation Project Titan. Following Apple’s complaint, Zhang transferred a 25-page document containing engineering schematics of a circuit board for a self-driving vehicle to the company to his wife’s laptop via AirDrop. He also saved to this laptop a copy of the technical manualswhich described an Apple prototype, and also stole circuit boards and a Linux server from the development labs.

Zhang filed at Apple after paternity leave and a trip to China resignation and announced that he was going to work for the company XPeng Motors. And it was the last piece of information that raised doubts and became the basis for later investigations, since XPeng is also interested in autonomous vehicle technology.

Apple has been working on a self-driving car for a decade, but has yet to launch a product that customers can buy. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman recently reported that the company she changed her plans and is now developing instead of a full-fledged autonomous vehicle an electric car similar to the one from Tesla. The long-awaited Apple Car is expected to debut in 2028 at the earliest.

Source: engadget.com