HomeGuideThe Guy Arrested for Stealing Trade Secrets of Apple Car Pleads Guilty

The Guy Arrested for Stealing Trade Secrets of Apple Car Pleads Guilty

Remember that guy we told was arrested by the FBI in 2018 while discussing the updates on the most coveted Apple Car’s Project Titan? Turns out that the ex-apple engineer, Xiaolang Zhang admitted and has pleaded guilty to his actions now. What a roller-coaster ride for the still-awaited EV by Apple!

Zhang confessed to stealing Apple’s top-secret trade secrets of its upcoming car in a US court. To brush up on your memory, let us remind you that Apple has been working on its car for years. However, Apple has never come up with any official news or statement until now.

Apple and its steering wheel concept vehicle have not seen a day of light so far. The company stays in the news for all the good reasons, and this time around it is their ex-engineer pleading guilty. By the way, can anyone else do the most selling self-drive vehicle than Apple? Or come up with no window design? Maybe not.

What Is The 2018 Trade Secret Case?

2018’s trade secret stealing case revolves around the accusations of the ex-employees of Apple stealing secret data from the company. Xiaolang Zhang was accused of stealing trade secrets 25-page confidential document including numerous detailed schematic drawings of portions of Apple’s autonomous vehicle.

Apple accused him of stealing 24GB of highly sensitive information by transferring everything to his wife. During an inside investigation by Apple, they found him using AirDrop to transfer all the files to his wife’s laptop. Moreover, he took circuit boards, instruction booklets, prototype PDFs, and even a server from Apple’s lab.

The case states that Zhang was indeed working for some Chinese EV automobile maker and was stealing all the data for them. Apple confirmed in their internal report submitted in the San Jose court that they found him to be more active in the last three days at the company than compared to his last two years tenure. Apple found him downloading data that included Apple’s intellectual property including their trade secrets. He bought a round-trip ticket on 7 July 2018 to China and was arrested at the airport by the FBI.

The case is still under trial in San Jose, and the final verdict is to come in November this year. Moreover, if indeed Zhang gets convicted, he can face 10 years in prison or $250,000 charged fees in fines.

Who Is Xiaolang Zhang?

Xiaolang Zhang is one of the two former employees working on the Apple self-drive project that was accused of stealing trade secrets. Zhang was 33 when the FBI arrested him in the stealing case in 2018. He was accused of stealing a multitude of secret information from the company.

Zhang resigned from his post at Apple on April 30, 2018, stating that he was to join a Chinese automaker. He told another Apple employee that he wants to get back to China to his family in China to be close to his ailing mother.

FBI arrested Xiaolang Zhang from an airport in 2018 while trying to make his way back to China after stealing from Apple. However, at that time Zhang said he has not done anything illegal and pleaded not guilty.

According to a report published by CNBC, the former Apple employee was originally accused of stealing secretive documents and trade secrets. The list of accusations included him denying all allegations at the time. However, federal agents arrested him at the San Jose airport in July 2018.

Apple Car’s Update

Apple car is still not happening anytime soon. As with any other report on the project update, The most talked about tentative time is said to be 2025. There is going to be some phenomenal work on the tech and design front for sure. However, there is still some time left for an official announcement, if there ever be one.

Apple Car

Some of the speculated features of the upcoming Apple car include a striking design, a long-range electric powertrain, and of course autonomous driving capabilities. While we do not know how true or if at all feasible these claims are, Apple will certainly bring something new and significant to the table with its first car.

Why Apple Has Not Announced Its Self-Drive Till Now?

Apple has been working on its Project Titan for a long and yet there is nothing to show to the world. No prototype, no sketch, nothing. In these times where companies come up with their concepts and prototypes in just a matter of a few months if not weeks, Apple is a slow cat. But why Apple is not announcing anything? Because they do not have one ready yet. Simple.

Apple has done an extraordinary job with its products like iPhones and MacBooks. However, they are still lagging far behind in the automobile world. There have been many unofficial updates and reports claiming a thousand things happening in the Project Titan Saga.

Apple has already filed for numerous patents and trademarks to embark on its progress. These filings include some whacky yet incredibly intriguing things. A few recent reports hint toward the potential use of VR tech inside the so-called Apple car. Moreover, Apple might be using a Tesla-like custom OS according to a recent round of rumors making the round in the tech world.

What To Expect In The Future?

Apple is yet to launch anything significant to come close to a self-drive vehicle. Tesla and other tech giants have already made their strong presence in the autonomous automobile world. However, Apple is still keeping mum on even trying anything in the field. The long list of not-so-successful attempts and controversies makes the whole Project Titan even weaker.

Xiaolang Zhang’s case could have been a huge setback for Apple to deal with at the time. He did indeed steal the trade secrets and blueprints at the time of the controversial self-drive as he has now accepted the charges. However, his sentencing in November could bring some positive vibes to the company.

We are eagerly waiting for the infamous iPhone maker to launch the Apple car & make huge headlines with their self-drive tech. However, the summit is yet to be explored. Let’s wait and watch how the events unfold in the coming time. What do you think Apple is at with the progress on Project Titan? Please share your opinion on the recent news in our comment section below. We would love to hear your views!

Purnima Rathi
Purnima Rathi
Purnima has a strong love for EVs. Whether it's classic cars or modern performance vehicles, she likes to write about anything with four wheels, especially if there's a cool story behind it.


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