News

Question for automotive engineers: Is stealing a prototype worth it?

Discussion in 'General Automotive Discussion' started by bitzman, Apr 5, 2020.

  1. bitzman

    bitzman Formula 3

    Feb 15, 2008
    2,366
    I don't plan on stealing one anytime soon, but I remember when Tesla was bent out of shape to find one they had rented or leased had been disassembled probably by some rival automaker intent on stealing secrets (the renter had missed something when they re-assembled it which was how their nefarious act was discovered)

    Think Black Moon Rising , an old Tommy Lee Jones movie. The plot revolves around the theft of a prototype vehicle called the Black Moon.

    That was a little far fetched, driving the car out of a skyscraper window to crash through the window of an adjoining skyscraper.

    Cars have been stolen right off test racks, including a Boxer. So physically it could be done but the real question I have is "What would be the point? " If it's an electric car, or hybrid, does any company have anything so advanced that a competing company would learn a lot by having access to it? And even if they copied it, couldn't the company that developed it and patented it sue the thieves if the thieves use it in their rival vehicle? So you couldn't steal it and hope to be undiscovered if you stole that auto com]any's secret(s).

    Probably not the same analogy, but the military world, from what I've read there's still a big effort to not lose something that's advanced. I was reading about the Blackbird and when one crashed, the US forces went to great efforts o recover it an even when the US sided with Bin Laden and one of the choppers crashed with a lot of US secrets on board, we blew it up to deny them getting a ship that could be repaired.

    Maybe you don't have to steal the car if you can get into the computers. Tesla had that problem too
    https://www.theverge.com › tesla-autopilot-trade-secret-theft-guangzhi-cao...Jul 10, 2019 - Tesla sued Cao earlier this year for allegedly stealing trade secrets related to ... and/or remove any such Tesla files prior to his separation from Tesla. ... a job with XPeng, an EV startup based in China that makes cars that look ...
     
  2. energy88

    energy88 F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    Jan 21, 2012
    12,382
    Fredericksburg, VA & Sarasota, FL
    Full Name:
    John
    Most manufacturers wait until the models hit the streets and then buy one and take it back to their "teardown room" for engineering and cost analysis.

    https://www.wired.com/2006/02/teardown/
     
    David_S likes this.
  3. JL350

    JL350 Karting

    Jan 20, 2013
    95
    Developing technology takes a lot of time and money/resources. If you can take something that someone else has successfully developed, the savings can be huge. Knowing how something works can be as important as being able to use the tech (patents etc) and other methods maybe possible. Some companies seems to just ignore patents and blatantly copy products with impunity...
     
  4. Davesvt2000

    Davesvt2000 Formula 3

    May 3, 2005
    1,018
    Central Mass.
    Full Name:
    Dave G.
    If I remember correctly, Ford bought some Ferrari 360’s to tear down when they were developing the 2005 Ford GT.
     
    DGPF likes this.
  5. bitzman

    bitzman Formula 3

    Feb 15, 2008
    2,366
    JL350's answer was more what I wanted to hear, but I would think waiting for the competitor's car to come out still puts you (as an automaker) 2 or 3 years behind them. If you could get at a prototype while it was still in development you could cut that time in half.
    I wonder if total access (meaning you dis-assemble it) to a Tesla reveals the secret of their fast charging? Seems like all electric cars will need that to compete with them. I am amazed how in Germany they sell well when BMW, Mercedes and Audi are already the luxury brands.
     
  6. Wade

    Wade Three Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Mar 31, 2006
    31,074
    East Central, FL
    Full Name:
    Wade O.
    Side note; sounds like an interesting movie. I don't think I've seen it.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. energy88

    energy88 F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    Jan 21, 2012
    12,382
    Fredericksburg, VA & Sarasota, FL
    Full Name:
    John
  8. Wade

    Wade Three Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Mar 31, 2006
    31,074
    East Central, FL
    Full Name:
    Wade O.
    Well, I was going to post something about Firefox (the movie, not the browser), but it's just a movie. :p

    However [it's been said] the US made open "offers" to anyone who defected with a Mig-25 Foxbat (while our F-15 was still in development). As a result...

    https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20160905-the-pilot-who-stole-a-secret-soviet-fighter-jet

    Regarding "stealing prototypes" (e.g. IP), China does that all the time. ;)
     

Share This Page