Chinese media outlet 36Kr reported Thursday it had learned from several sources that Zhang Jianyong, NIO‘s Associate Vice President (AVP) of autonomous driving, will leave in the near future after working at the firm for seven years. Zhang is responsible for automatic driving and integrated implementation, and reports directly to William Li, Chairman and CEO of NIO.
Zhang joined NIO in 2015, and has since contributed to the construction of its autonomous driving development system from scratch, and has worked for the delivery of the first and second generation autonomous driving platforms. Prior to NIO, Zhang worked for SAIC and was devoted to its automatic driving development.
The source said that in response to Zhang’s departure, William Li presided over the department meeting and thanked Zhang for his efforts in NIO. Zhang is reportedly planning to conduct a computer chip project after resignation, and Li expressed intentions to invest.
The autopilot system team under Zhang consists of nearly 400 staff members. His departure leads to the re-integration of the whole autopilot team in NIO.
NIO‘s autonomous driving business has four teams, namely hardware, operating systems and data security, algorithms, and system engineering. The heads of these four teams all report directly to William Li.
Upon Zhang’s departure, NIO doesn’t intend to keep the post of director of automatic driving system. Instead, the company will split the business and integrate it into other automatic driving business lines.
Zhang’s autopilot system team is engaged in system integration, sensor development such as cameras, autopilot fleet operation, simulation platform, algorithms and other businesses. The integration scheme plans to incorporate hardware-related businesses such as sensors and underlying software into the hardware team, keep the operation business independent temporarily, and integrate other businesses into the algorithm team.
NIO‘s automatic driving algorithms team also has a large scale, with sources claiming it has over 400 staff members. In addition to the hardware team, the business integration involves nearly 1,000 people.