Former Chinese Tesla engineer Cao Guangzhi admitted on July 11 that he uploaded compressed files containing the source code of Autopilot onto his own iCloud account at the end of 2018 when he was still working for Tesla.
According to the court files, “Mr. Cao admits that he was a member of Tesla’s Autopilot team and that, as part of that team, he had access to Tesla’s source code. Mr. Cao denies the characterization of Tesla’s source code and other company information as ‘trade secrets’ on the grounds that it is a legal conclusion to which no response is required. Mr. Cao denies the allegations about Tesla’s leadership in electric vehicles and its intellectual property portfolio on the grounds that he lacks sufficient knowledge or information to admit or deny the allegations.”
According to his LinkedIn account, he also served as senior image scientist at Apple before joining Tesla. From April 2017 to January 2019, he worked as staff computer vision scientist on Tesla’s Autopilot team. He states on his LinkedIn page, “As a member of Tesla Autopilot AI/Vision team, I made significant contributions to the Autopilot H50, H4 and V9 releases which received tremendous positive feedback from Tesla owners.”
According to his attorney, Cao has made efforts to delete all Tesla-related information or files before leaving Tesla.
Based on the information on his personal LinkedIn account, Cao Guangzhi is now the “head of perception” at Xpeng Automobile, a Chinese electric vehicle company and is “developing and delivering autonomous driving technology used for car production”.
His attorney also explained that the source code and other information left on Cao’s personal devices only exist out of neglect.