Ex-Tesla worker says he stored Autopilot source code on his iCloud

Cornelia Mascio
Luglio 12, 2019

Now, it should be said that neither Tesla nor Apple has chose to go after Xpeng itself, instead focusing their efforts on the ex-employees that admitted to having made off with intellectual property. Last year Cao admitted to uploading copies of the code to a personal account, as well as moving more than 300,000 files and directories related to the autopilot system.

Cao claims he received a formal offer from XPeng on December 12, deleted 120,000 files from his iCloud on or around December 26, and left Tesla on January 3, 2019. Tesla disagrees, writing in its complaint that the Autopilot feature Cao worked on is the "crown jewel of Tesla's intellectual property portfolio" and that Cao tried to bring these trade secrets to Xiaopeng Motors, his new employer. The suit also points to a case from a year ago in which a former Apple employee was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and charged with stealing troves of data from the company's self-driving auto lab, after announcing his intention to move to XPeng.

Even though Cao (one of 40 people who knew about the code) accepted copying the source code, his lawyer has argued that he made good efforts to delete the files prior to cutting all ties with Tesla. The chairman He Xiaopeng called the lawsuits "questionable", according to Bloomberg, and said there was a natural "flow of talent" between his company and Tesla. However, there is no word on when he accepted the offer.

The company denies any involvement in the actions of its potential employees.

In addition to this, Tesla summoned documents from Apple during its filing as a former Apple employee was found stealing information from Apple related to its Autonomous Car Project and giving it to the same Chinese company that Cao now works for.

Neither Tesla nor Apple immediately responded to Roadshow's request for comment.

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