Xpeng's head of autonomous driving quits, rumored to join Nvidia

This follows a string of Tesla's senior executives resigning.Xinzhou Wu, vice president of autonomous driving for Xpeng, has resigned due to personal and family reasons. This is following a trend of Tesla's senior executives resigning.

Xpeng's head of autonomous driving quits, rumored to join Nvidia

For personal and familial reasons.

Wu was formerly a senior engineer at Qualcomm, where he worked for over a decade. He headed Xpeng’s autonomous driving division and played a key role in helping Xpeng to gain an advantage over its EV competitors in the race of intelligent driving.

The NYSE-listed EV startup is praised for its full-stack in-house development team, which created the advanced driver assist system (ADAS), Xpeng Navigation Guided Pilot(XNPG), considered a rival to Tesla's Full Self-Driving System (FSD).

Xpeng upgraded their city navigation system in March for customers living in cities such as Guangzhou and Shenzhen. The company also aims to reduce manual takeovers to just one per 1,000 km when using highway navigation by the end 2023.

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Wu hasn't made an official announcement about his next career step after five years at Xpeng. However, rumors have it that he will be taking a senior role in Nvidia’s autonomous driving division. He Xiaopeng's Weibo posting, the CEO and founder at Xpeng who expressed his pride at Wu becoming a senior manager in a global company that continues to collaborate with Xpeng on chip technology, hints at such a possibility.

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Wu will pass the torch on to Liyun Li who is currently the senior director for autonomous driving in the company. He says that this transition was in the works since nearly a full year, and is confident it will go smoothly.

Weibo. 'I am confident that Xpeng will continue to develop ADAS with its solid team, and their system until the era driverless cars arrive.'

The two companies will jointly develop electric vehicle models for China's market.

Wu's departure may not affect Xpeng's path to autonomous driving, but it marks the end of a era for the company. Wu is part of a group AI experts that returned from Silicon Valley and worked at Chinese tech firms while managing R&D in the U.S.

As president, Wang, who has 20 years' experience in the Chinese pick-up truck and crossover manufacturer Great Wall Motors, will be leading the company. Wang, a young company that is proud of its R&D, will oversee product planning.

Wu said in his farewell letter, "Five years ago I crossed the Atlantic to join Xpeng. Landing on the right platform, at the right moment. I found myself in a race which sent the clouds and wind ablaze and ignited the spirits.