Tesla filed a lawsuit against its former employee in March, who was allegedly stealing source codes of Tesla’s Autopilot technology. In a recent filing, the ex-employee has admitted that he was indeed behind this.
It was alleged that Guangzhi Cao transferred zip files of the Autopilot source code to his iCloud last year, for which Cao was sued by Tesla. The information included more than 300,000 files and directories, including firmware, Autopilot, and neural network source code repositories.
The filing suggests that Cao stole important documents last year, deleted around 120,000 files in December, deleted proof of the theft (disconnected his iCloud and deleted browser history) and left Tesla on January 3.
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.
Apart from stealing trade secrets from the Elon Musk-owned EV company, Cao has been accused of sharing information with Chinese autonomous car-maker Xiaopeng Motors, which is backed by Alibaba.
However, Xiaopeng has said that the company respects other companies’ intellectual property and has not tried to extract Tesla’s secret information.
Furthermore, Cao revealed that he got an offer from Xiaopeng Motors on December 12. However, there is no word on when he accepted the offer. Currently, he works as “Head of Perception” at the Chinese car startup.
While Tesla accuses Cao of poaching a Tesla employee to his new company, Cao denies the allegations.
Tesla, Cao, and Xiaopeng haven’t provided any comments on the same.
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.