Tesla Motors has filed a lawsuit against the former director of its Autopilot programme, accusing him of stealing the company’s confidential data related to its driver-assist systems.
The lawsuit also alleges that Sterling Anderson, the ex-exec in question, attempted to hire at least a dozen of former colleagues to work for his new venture.
It is also claimed that Anderson had started working on his own self-driving car venture before leaving Tesla in December last year.
According to a lawsuit filed by the electric car-maker in California, Anderson also partnered with the former head of Google’s self-driving car project Chris Urmson.
The electric car-maker is seeking the court’s help in preventing Anderson, Urmson and Aurora Innovation from hiring Tesla employees and contractors for one year after Anderson’s left the company.
Tesla also wants the court to restrict the use of its proprietary information related to autonomous driving.
Aurora was quoted by Bloomberg as saying: “Tesla’s meritless lawsuit reveals both a startling paranoia and an unhealthy fear of competition.
“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.”
Earlier this month, Tesla appointed Chris Lattner, who worked for Apple for 11 years, as vice president of its autopilot software.
Recently, US auto safety regulators disclosed that they had found no evidence of defects in Tesla Motors.
The disclosure came after a six month investigation into the death of a Tesla driver following a fatal crash in July 2016.
Since October 2014, the company has offered the Autopilot system on all its cars. Recently, it added a new feature to the hardware by including eight cameras and a dozen sensors.