In 2019, Tesla sued an employee for downloading data regarding the autopilot feature of the company. The accusation was against Cao Guangzhi who was an engineer, and the lawsuit stated that the above person copied more than 300,000 files and directories that had information about Autopilot to his personal iCloud account before submitting them to XMoters China which is currently owned by Xpeng.
It was reported that Cao paid Tesla a certain monetary amount to settle this, but the same reports did not disclose an amount or any other related details about the incident. The legal representative of Tesla’s ex-engineer confirmed this settlement and went on to state that Cao provided Tesla’s information to neither XMotors nor other companies. The Chinese company, XMotors was not involved in this legal case, but they made an announcement where they said that their self-driving technology was developed in-house and they have immense respect for intellectual property rights. At the same time, the accused ex-engineer of Tesla admitted that he downloaded the data although he didn’t provide it to a third party. Furthermore, he claims that he intended to delete the data prior to leaving Tesla.
In the original file, Tesla has referred to the autopilot feature as the crown jewel of their intellectual property portfolio. Tesla’s latest full self-driving update was released and it comes with new features such as automatic lane-changing, auto-parking, summon and etc.
An NTSB board tweeted lately that the name “Full-self Driving” is not 100% accurate as the vehicle is not capable of driving itself as of now.
China is the largest market for electric cars and Tesla is in competition with Chinese automakers including Xpeng. Currently, Tesla is operating a plant in Shanghai and the company intends to expand its presence in the country.