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Nvidia hires Chinese experts for autonomous driving

In the development of autonomous vehicle technologies, Nvidia has provided graphic processing units that can perform millions of calculations. A semiconductor giant is seeking Chinese talent to boost its AV game.

In a Tuesday WeChat post, the company announced the hiring of two dozen autonomous driving team members in Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. The unit includes software, an end-to-end platform, system integration, mapping, and product positions led by Xinzhou Wu, who has introduced smart driving to Chinese mass-produced vehicles.

Wu, the former head of autonomous vehicles at Xpeng, a Chinese electric vehicle startup and Tesla competitor known for smart driving, joined Nvidia in August. Wu is Nvidia’s head of automotive and reports directly to founder and CEO Jensen Huang, according to LinkedIn.

Powerful Nvidia graphics cards are crucial to self-driving. Last September, the company introduced Thor, its 2,000-teraflop automotive-grade chip generation.

As expected, Nvidia has made China its AV hub. Electric carmakers have invested in autonomous driving due to fierce auto industry competition, creating a pool of talent experienced in R&D for mass production.

Wu, who heads Nvidia’s AV division and leads the China AV team, acknowledges China’s potential to boost smart driving sales. His job posting statement:

Let’s hope the Chinese autonomous driving team can propel Nvdia’s commercialization by using the country’s talent and experience to create global autonomous driving products.

The Nvidia-China relationship is delicate. U.S. export control prevents the chip giant from exporting its most powerful AI GPUs to China, one of its biggest markets, but not its automotive products.

The post states that Wu leads Nvidia’s AV team to “design, create, and deploy” AI systems for automation and autonomous vehicles. The unit trains and tests AI and processes real-time data in robots, commercial fleets, and passenger cars.

Wu’s former boss approves of his job switch. When Wu left, Xpeng’s founder and CEO, He Xiaopeng, expressed pride in his former employee’s “top-level management role” at a “globally renowned company,” Nvidia.

On social media, He and Wu have hinted at a semiconductor partnership between Xpeng and Nvidia. Huang and He flanked him in a photo that Wu shared the day before he joined Nvidia, indicating a close partnership.

“Xiaopeng personally escorted me to Nvidia on my first day tomorrow. Old Huang [Jensen Huang] says I’ll still work for Xiaopeng, but he won’t pay me, Wu wrote.

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