A former “Apple engineer” has been charged with stealing self-driving car technology from China
A former “Apple engineer” was accused by the United States “Justice Department” of stealing the company’s autonomous system technology. The worker, Weibao Wang, is now an “executive” at Jidu, a joint venture between the Chinese internet giant “Baidu” and the Chinese automobile manufacturer “Geely,” according to reports from the agency. Jidu produces electric vehicles.
Apple has been working on its biggest initiative of “Self-driving cars” for years. Several senior engineers from the auto industry have reportedly been hired by the iPhone manufacturer.
Notably, Wang is the third employee of Apple to be charged with stealing “auto industry trade secrets” for China.
According to the “DoJ’s indictment,” Wang has been charged with converting “a trade secret that was related to a product and service used in and intended for use in interstate and foreign commerce for the purpose of financial gain for someone other than the trade secret’s owner.”
For each count of theft, he faces a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of “$250,000” or “twice the gross gain” or loss attributable to the scheme.
Before joining the “US-based division” of an unnamed Chinese company that was developing autonomous driving technology, Wang spent about a year working for Apple. He started stealing “large amounts” of proprietary commercial technology, according to the indictment, as well as source code.
Only “5,000 of Apple’s 135,000 full-time employees” were aware of the project in April 2017, according to the DOJ indictment. And only about 2% of the staff had access to “one or more” of the databases.
Mr. Wang will leave Apple in 2018. The indictment claims that his resignation email was vague about his “post-Apple plans.”
On June 27, 2018, law enforcement allegedly conducted a search of Wang’s California home and discovered a sizable amount of proprietary, confidential, and stolen data there. Wang left the nation and went back to China’s Guangzhou, it says in more detail.