Apple: an engineer flees with secret documents on the next autonomous car, he is arrested in extremis at the airport

A former Apple automotive engineer has pleaded guilty to stealing trade secrets related to the tech giant’s nascent self-driving vehicle program, court documents released on Monday show.

Federal prosecutors say Xiaolang Zhang downloaded the blueprint for a circuit board of Apple’s self-driving system after revealing his intentions to work for a Chinese startup in the industry and booking a last-minute flight to China. He was arrested at the San José airport after going through a security checkpoint.

Xiaolang Zhang, who initially pleaded not guilty, reached a plea agreement with prosecutors. The verdict will be known next November. The agreement was confirmed by Xiaolang Zhang’s lawyer, who declined to comment further. Apple and the US Department of Justice could not immediately be reached. Another former Apple engineer facing the same charges, Jizhong Chen, has pleaded not guilty. A hearing has been set for August 29.

To form Chinese-origin #Apple employee, accused of stealing trade secrets about the tech giant’s automotive car division, has pleaded guilty in a court in the US.

Xiaolang Zhang was accused of downloading internal Apple files about the car that Apple plans to unveil in 2024. pic.twitter.com/I24ko5ieCf

—IANS (@ians_india) August 23, 2022

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