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‘Startling Paranoia’: Ex-Autopilot Director Sued by Tesla, Fires Back

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The former director of Tesla’s Autopilot program has choice words for his former employer.

Sterling Anderson is being sued by Tesla for stealing confidential information, which he allegedly put to use at a new autonomous vehicle start-up. According to Bloomberg, the electric automaker isn’t happy about his attempts to hire away Tesla employees, either.

In his response to the suit, Anderson doesn’t have very nice things to say about Tesla.

“Tesla’s meritless lawsuit reveals both a startling paranoia and an unhealthy fear of competition,â€� Anderson’s company, Aurora Innovation LLC, said in a statement Thursday.

“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 left the automaker in December, but not before laying the groundwork for a new company specializing in self-driving technology, Tesla alleges. During his tenure, the former director had full access to Tesla’s semi-autonomous driving technology. Aurora Innovation was formed with the help of former Google self-driving car head Chris Urmson.

With its suit, Tesla isn’t just looking to block the use of any of its proprietary information. It also wants to slam the brakes on Aurora’s go-to hiring practice. (That is, hiring away Tesla employees and contractors.) If granted, Tesla’s demand would see Aurora cease and desist from hiring these employees for a year following Anderson’s termination date.

Anderson had yet to announce the company when Tesla filed its lawsuit.

[Image: Tesla Motors]

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