Head of Algorithm at DAMO Academy Leaves Company to Explore Outdoor Cleaning Robots

Chen Junbo, the former head of algorithm at the Alibaba-backed DAMO Academy, has left his post to start a new business. Together with two other executives from Alibaba and vice president of tech startup Hengtian, Chen founded Youlu Intelligence that specializes in outdoor cleaning robots, Leiphone reported on March 6.

Youlu Intelligent was established in October 2022 with a business scope that covers robotics research and development, manufacturing and sales, etc. There is no financing and product just yet, though a person familiar with the matter said that the company has set up a R&D team and that a product demo is expected to be available in the second half of the year.

Chen Junbo graduated from the College of Computer Science and Technology at Zhejiang University and has worked for Alibaba Cloud, Taobao, Cainiao and DAMO Academy. During his time at the DAMO Academy, Chen’s title was the senior algorithm expert at the autonomous driving laboratory, and was responsible for the research and development of decision-making planning control algorithms and simulation systems.

In January 2022, Wang Gang, vice president of Alibaba and head of autonomous driving of DAMO Academy, left his post. Cheng Li, CTO of Alibaba, became the head of the academy’s autonomous driving business while Chen was in charge of the day-to-day operation. With the organizational adjustment of Alibaba at the end of 2022, Cheng retired. Chen’s departure from the company has opened the post once again.

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DAMO Academy ranks in the forefront in China in the fields of artificial intelligence and autonomous driving. M6, the world’s first ultra-large-scale, multi-modal pre-training model with 10 trillion parameters developed by the academy, was rated as the key breakthrough among Chinese AI research and development projects in 2021 by MIT Tech Review.

The company now founded by Wang Gang after departing Alibaba is involved with indoor cleaning robots, while Chen’s company devoted itself to outdoor cleaning robots.

The other three founding members of Youlu Intelligence include: Gu Zulin, the former CEO of Alibaba Robot and the head of the unmanned vehicle division at Cainiao Network’s ET Lab; an executive from DAMO Academy; and Wang Jian, who graduated from Zhejiang University.