Allegations were false and reveal “an unhealthy fear of competition,” says Sterling Anderson.

Tesla has filed a suit in the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara, against its former head of Autopilot development for working on a startup while still employed by the automaker. The American electric vehicle company is suing Sterling Anderson along with Chris Urmson for stealing company information.

Tesla Autopilot camera feeds
Tesla Autopilot v8.0

Anderson joined Tesla in December 2014 and was head of the Autopilot team until November 2015. In the summer of 2016, the manufacturer claims, he started talks with Urmson and began recruiting Tesla engineers to join his new startup with promises of more advanced hardware and deals with three or four automakers, as Automotive News reports. The suit also claims Anderson downloaded proprietary information onto his personal devices and tried to delete the evidence when returning his company equipment.

“Anderson collaborated with Urmson on their competing venture on Tesla time, using his Tesla company laptop, and on Tesla's premises.”

The venture created by the two engineers, called Aurora, released a statement wrote by Anderson on behalf of the startup, claiming Tesla’s allegations were false and reveal “an unhealthy fear of competition.”

“Aurora looks forward to disproving these false allegations in court and to building a successful self-driving business,” the statement read.

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Anderson was replaced by Chris Lattner, who joined Tesla engineering team in January and is now the company’s vice president of Autopilot software. He is responsible for overseeing the development of the Autopilot self-driving technology and has been working for Apple in the last 11 years. He signed a deal with the Californian brand along with another Apple high profile executive - Matt Casebolt, who was named senior director engineering, closures and mechanisms.

Source: Santa Clara Superior Court via Automotive News