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8.21.19
Parting Gift

Former Employee Admits to Copying Tesla’s Autopilot Code

July 12th 19__Kristin Houser__Filed Under: Advanced Transport
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Deny, Deny, Deny

In March, Tesla filed a lawsuit against Guangzhi Cao, a former employee who left the company in January.

The lawsuit alleges that Cao uploaded full copies of Autopilot-related source code to his personal iCloud account prior to quitting — and then shared them with his new employer, Xiaopeng Motors, which is said to be working on a “Tesla clone.”

In a pair of new court filings, Cao admits to copying the Autopilot code — but denies accessing or making any use of the files after leaving Tesla.

Autopilot Code Breaker

Xiaopeng has denied any wrongdoing since the beginning of the controversy, writing in a March statement that it “has by no means caused or attempted to cause Mr. Cao to misappropriate trade secrets, confidential and proprietary information of Tesla, whether such allegations by Tesla being true or not.”

Cao might also deny any wrongdoing, but that won’t be enough to save him from potentially serious financial trouble if the courts rule in Tesla’s favor — in the lawsuit, Tesla claims it spent hundreds of millions of dollars developing the technology it’s now accusing Cao of hand-delivering to its rival.

READ MORE: Former Tesla employee admits uploading Autopilot source code to his iCloud [The Verge]

More on Xiaopeng Motors: Tesla-Inspired Chinese Automaker Launches First All-Electric SUV