Tesla Motors Sues Former Autopilot Director Claiming He Stole Company's Confidential Informations; And Tesla Is Not Happy

Jan 28, 2017 11:54 PM EST | Carl Anthony Teves

It's been recently reported that Tesla Motors is suing its former Autopilot director, saying that he took confidential, proprietary information about its driverless car technology and destroyed evidence to cover his tracks. The lawsuit was filed in Santa Clara Superior Court. The former director was also accused of trying to recruit at least a dozen of employees, in an attempt to start his own company.

The automakers allege that Sterling Anderson intended to use the information that they stole to start a new autonomous car venture, called Aurora Innovation. He founded it together with Chris Urmson, the former head of Google's self-driving project.

In the lawsuit, the automaker requested for a court order to hinder Anderson, Urmson and Aurora Innovation from hiring any Tesla employees and as well as contractors from one year after the former director left the company. In addition, the firm also requested an order to block the use of its own information for an autonomous driving system.

Furthermore, the suit also claims that Anderson downloaded hundreds of gigabytes of company's confidential and proprietary information and saved it into his personal Toshiba hard drive and planned to use it for his own startup. He then hacked the time-stamps on his laptop and secure-erased certain files.

According to an online publication, Anderson denied the accusations and said, "Tesla's meritless lawsuit reveals both a startling paranoia and an unhealthy fear of competition." He added, "This abuse of the legal system is a malicious attempt to stifle a competitor and destroy personal reputations. Aurora looks forward to disproving these false allegations in court and to building a successful self-driving business."

Anderson started working for the company toward the end of the year 2014 as a senior product manager. He then was promoted to his former position as the new director of Autopilot programs in 2015. He left the electric automaker just like Chris Lattner, an engineer from Apple, was hired. Lattner was the person who created Swift, a programming language that was launched in 2014 while he was still working for the giant tech Apple.


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