“It all started when Xiaolang Zhang, a two year Apple employee, was suspected by Apple of taking company secrets,” Thomas Koulopoulos writes for Inc. “Zhang had access to the inner workings of Apple’s very secretive autonomous car division, codenamed Titan.”
“Zhang had been terminated from Apple and there were concerns about some of his activities. All the culminated on July 7th, when, according to a detailed article in the Washington Post, he was arrested by federal agents after buying a one-way ticket to Beijing,” Koulopoulos writes. “The story about Zheng and the allegations against him are fascinating of themselves. However, what is much more interesting is that in court documents, filed by Apple, it’s disclosed that of Apple’s 135,000 employees, 5000 are working on the autonomous vehicle project, with 2,700 of these employees dedicated to it full time. This makes Apple one of, if not the, largest player in the autonomous vehicle market. Waymo, for example, has 680 employees listed on LinkedIn.”
“Why is Apple betting so heavily on AVs? First, because it understands the potential for a technological shift in transportation that’s even more dramatic than that which the iPhone had on mobile devices. AVs will at least double the number of vehicle hours driven in the US alone by 2035, and quadruple them by 2050,” Koulopoulos writes. “Second, because Apple wants to own the platform that captures your behaviors. As Chris Nicholson, CEO of SkyMind, a company which focuses on leading-edge machine learning and also develops software for autonomous vehicles, said to me when I interviewed him for my latest book, Revealing The Invisible: ‘A lot of people don’t realize autonomous vehicles are basically going to be a smartphone that we live in for hours every day. We’re literally inside of it. It’s an app we can’t escape.'””
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Shhh! Apple doesn’t want anyone to think Project Titan is still chugging along (even though it always has been).
• I’ve always wanted to own and control the primary technology in everything we do. — Steve Jobs, October 12, 2004
• In order to build the best products, you have to own the primary technologies. Steve felt that if Apple could do that — make great products and great tools for people — they in turn would do great things. He felt strongly that this would be his contribution to the world at large. We still very much believe that. That’s still the core of this company. — Apple CEO Tim Cook, March 18, 2015
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Former Apple engineer faces up to 10 years in jail, $250,000 fine over the theft of autonomous vehicle secrets – July 11, 2018
Criminal case reveals details of Apple’s self-driving car technology – July 11, 2018
China’s XMotors claims employee did not pass along Apple autonomous driving trade secrets – July 11, 2018
Former Apple employee charged with criminal theft of autonomous vehicle secrets – July 10, 2018