Patcay.com – A former Apple engineer, Xiaolang Zhang, has just been sentenced to 120 days in jail after being found guilty of stealing trade secrets related to the development of self-driving vehicles. The sentence also includes three years of supervised release, bringing his total sentence to 6 months.
Zhang was arrested in 2018 at San Jose International Airport as he was about to board a flight to China. Initially, he insisted he was innocent, but in 2022, Zhang changed his stance and admitted to stealing trade secrets.
In addition to serving jail time, Zhang is also required to pay restitution of USD 146,984 according to court documents. This is a lighter punishment compared to the potential sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of USD 250,000.
Read more : Banning the Mention of Palworld in Japan
Zhang, who previously worked as a hardware engineer at Apple, was involved in the autonomous vehicle initiative known as Project Titan. At that time, he transferred valuable documents containing Apple’s self-driving vehicle circuit board engineering schematics to his wife’s laptop via AirDrop.
The documents included detailed information about Apple’s prototypes, including copies of technical manuals. Additionally, Zhang was also found guilty of stealing circuit boards and Linux servers from the company’s development lab before resigning and informing Apple that he would be working for XPeng Motors in China.
The incident triggered an investigation after Apple reported their suspicions about Zhang. The investigation revealed that Zhang was caught on surveillance cameras taking hardware from Apple’s lab and transferring files to his personal computer.
Apple’s self-driving vehicle has been in development for a decade, but as of now, they have not launched a consumer-ready product.