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Apple's Auto-Run Project: a Chinese engineer charged with theft of secrets

He claims that engineer Jizhong Chen tried to take the key details Apple (AAPL) a mysterious auto-driving project. Chen was arrested and charged last week, shortly before he was due to fly to China, according to a criminal report filed in the US District Court in California.

Apple said that if the confidential material came out, it would be "enormously damaging" for the company, the allegations are filed.

The second time for about six months is a Chinese citizen is accused of stealing secret from the Apple project, whose existence the company refuses even publicly admitted.

Chen first raised suspicion in Apple when a colleague reported that he photographed him earlier this month with a auto-engine with a wide-angle lens.

Apple switches staff from the autonomous project of the vehicle

Apple has launched an investigation, revealing more than 2,000 files on Chen's personal computer that contain confidential information, according to court documents. Investigators also said Chen recorded sensitive information on his computer, which was bypassing Apple's network monitoring.

The FBI said the engineer admitted he had also supported his Apple computer for personal property, which is contrary to the company's policy.

Two photos specifically led to "instant criminal charges" against Chen, according to complaints. One shows a group drawing of wicket bundles for the car that drives itself, and another diagram that shows how the sensors communicate with other parts of the car to drive autonomously.

Chen's attorney, Daniel Olmos, refused to comment on the case. Chen was released last week after handing over his passport and publishing $ 100,000 with the bail.

He complained to Apple that the project data had been transferred to his personal hard drive as a "security pole" if he lost his job at the company. Apple later learned that she applied for two jobs in other companies, including a Chinese company that directly deals with Apple's project.

Apple spokespersons did not respond promptly to a comment outside regular business hours.

The battle about car driving

In July, Chinese engineer Xiaolang Zhang was arrested and charged with stealing business secrets while working on the self-service project of Apple. Apple's Zhangu investigation began after the engineer said he was leaving for Xiaopeng Motors, the Chinese launch of electric vehicles.

Zhang pleaded not guilty.

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Xiaopeng Motors spokeswoman said Apple did not share Apple's information and that Zhang was released.

The race to drive the car to the market is intense.

Uber and Waymo have been involved in the lawsuit for business secrets for years. Waymo, an auto-automotive project associated with it Google (GOOGL), claims that the former engineer had assumed autonomous trade secrets and carried them to Uber. Waymo eventually accepted the Uber settlement deal.
Apple started shifting resources from the development of autonomous cars, as its core business with smartphone devices slows down. The company allegedly releases more than 200 employees involved in the auto-driving project.

Rob McLean contributed to this report.

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