When authorities searched Wang’s home, he reportedly assured them that he had no plans to leave the country, but was found to have purchased a one-way plane ticket to Guangzhou, China from San Francisco International Airport later that day. The flight departed at approximately 11:55 p.m. that night, according to the indictment.

Wang is the third former Apple employee facing charges for allegedly stealing autonomous trade data and supplying it to China and comes after Xiaolang Zhang eventually pleaded guilty last year as part of a plea agreement to stealing trade secrets from Apple’s car division. Jizhong Chen, another former employee who worked as a hardware developer engineer on Apple’s autonomous vehicles project in 2018, is now facing federal charges for allegedly stealing sensitive information and providing it to China in 2019. Chen previously pleaded not guilty.


Wang is charged with six separate counts for his alleged role in stealing or attempting to steal Apple’s data including the entire autonomy source code, tracking for an autonomous system, behavior planning for autonomous systems, hardware descriptions, architecture design for autonomous systems, and the motion planner for an autonomous system. If extradited from China and convicted, Wang faces ten years in prison for each count.

Apple did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.