Alleged theft by ex-Apple employee gives insight into company’s secretive self-driving car project
Former employee accused of stealing secrets before planned move to Chinese electric car start-up Xiaopeng Motors
Apple is a notoriously secretive company. And for good reason: As the biggest company to ever exist, it wants to guard its next big product.
But sometimes we get a sneak peek into what that next thing might be. In this case, it’s the company’s Project Titan -- its autonomous driving initiative.
How did we find out about it?
It all happened when a former Apple employee was arrested as he was about to board a flight from the US to China, accused of stealing sensitive information from the company’s self-driving car project.
(Alibaba is an investor in Xiaopeng Motors. Abacus is a unit of the South China Morning Post, which is owned by Alibaba.)
But in a strange twist of fate, it wasn’t the industrial espionage that let us find out about Project Titan -- but Apple itself.
That’s because when Apple takes those leakers to court, it’s often forced to reveal things it wouldn’t usually.
What did we find out?
Apple is devoting a lot of resources to the project.
The complaint says Zhang was employed to “develop software and hardware for use in autonomous vehicles”. It references a proprietary chip as well as power requirements, battery systems and drivetrain suspension mounts.
The increasing competition has also seen allegations of foul play in China.
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