Tesla files lawsuit against four former employees and self-driving startup Zoox for allegedly stealing its trade secrets
Electric automaker, Tesla, has filed a lawsuit against four former employees and self-driving startup Zoox for allegedly stealing its trade secrets. In court a filing in a U.S. District Court in Northern California, Tesla said its former former employees Scott Turner, Sydney Cooper, Christian Dement, and Craig Emigh, “absconded with select proprietary Tesla documents useful to their new employer, and at least one of them used Tesla’s confidential information to target other Tesla employees for hiring by Zoox.”
The Silicon Valley automaker said that the four former employees stole “proprietary information and trade secrets to help Zoox leapfrog past years of work needed to develop and run its own warehousing, logistics, and inventory control operations.” In another court case, Tesla also accuses another former employee, Guangzhi Cao, the current head of perception at XPeng, of stealing source code related to the company’s Autopilot driver assistance feature before taking a job at Chinese electric automaker Xiaopeng Motors, or XPeng.
Cao was a member of Tesla’s “elite” Autopilot team, and was one of only about 40 people with access to the source code.
“Tesla restricts the neural network source code most stringently: currently, only about 40 people have access to this source code, which is granted on a strict ‘need-to-know’ basis,” the lawsuit reads. As part of the lawsuit, Tesla further stated:”Tesla has spent hundreds of millions of dollars and more than five years developing Autopilot,” the lawsuit reads. “Now that investment is at risk.”
Founded in 2014 Tim Kentley-Klay and Dr. Jesse Levinson, Zoox is a California based robotics startup that creates autonomous mobility. Operating at the intersection of design, computer science, and electro-mechanical engineering, Zoox is a multidisciplinary team working to imagine and build an advanced mobility experience that will support the future needs of urban mobility for both people and the environment.