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Ex-Apple engineer admits to stealing automotive trade secret

A case related to Apple’s driving trade secrets that began in 2018 has now closed. Xiaolang Zhang, a former Apple employee, Found guilty On Monday for stealing confidential information from Apple.

In July 2018, a federal grand jury in San Jose Found guilty Zhang to receive a 25-page document that contains detailed drawings of a circuit board designed to be used in Apple’s autonomous vehicle.

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In April of that year, Zhang told Apple that he was resigning to be closer to his ailing mother in China. Apple later learned that the former employee had gone to China to work for Xpeng, an electric vehicle upstart. On the day of Zhang’s plan to return to China, federal agents intercepted and arrested the engineer at San Jose International Airport.

Xpeng has distanced itself from the matter. in his official weibo post On Tuesday, the publicly traded EV maker said it had nothing to do with Zhang’s case, had no knowledge of the details of any case, was not involved in an investigation by officials of the US judiciary, and that its There is no related dispute with Apple.

“Xpeng is a leading player in advanced driver assistance systems in China and will continue to develop full-stack solutions,” the carmaker said.

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Another former Xpeng employee has also been embroiled in a legal dispute with a US tech giant. In 2019, Tesla alleged that its former employee Cao Guangxi stole Autopilot’s proprietary technology before taking a job at Xpeng, and that Elon Musk himself publicly made allegation The lawsuit regarding its Chinese challenger was dropped in 2021.

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Xpeng’s Western rivals are nervous about where it is headed. Like its overseas competitors, Xpeng has developed autonomous driving ambitions. The Guangzhou-based company is busy testing its Xpilot ADAS system, which is Tesla’s FSD equivalent, and is looking to mass-produce the solution at an affordable cost.

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Unlike Tesla, Xpeng has opted for lidar, some of which is supplied by DJI-affiliated Livox, to power its vehicles. Latest version of Xpilot claims To be able to navigate complex urban roads and auto-parks which the company labels as Level 2.5 driving.

Some of that technology may soon be available to overseas consumers. Last year, Xpeng quietly began shipping to Norway, also the first stop in its Chinese rival Nio’s overseas expansion. In February, the company announced There are plans to enter Sweden and the Netherlands through both official retail stores and third-party distribution networks.

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