Nvidia Expands Autonomous Driving Efforts by Recruiting Talent in China

Nvidia has been actively involved in developing autonomous vehicle technologies by providing the industry with graphic processing units capable of handling millions of calculations simultaneously. The semiconductor giant is now intensifying its autonomous vehicle (AV) initiatives by seeking to bolster its talent pool in China.

The company is looking to fill two dozen roles for an autonomous driving team spread across Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen, as revealed in a post on its official WeChat account on Tuesday. These positions range from software and end-to-end platform development to system integration, mapping, and product roles. Leading the team is Xinzhou Wu, known for his contributions in bringing smart driving features to mass-produced vehicles in China.

In August, Nvidia welcomed Wu, who previously led autonomous vehicle efforts at Xpeng, a Chinese electric vehicle company often likened to Tesla for its emphasis on smart driving. Wu now serves as Nvidia’s head of automotive, reporting directly to Jensen Huang, the company’s founder, and CEO.

Nvidia holds a crucial position in the self-driving space due to its powerful graphics cards. In September last year, the company unveiled its latest generation automotive-grade chip, known as Thor, boasting a performance of 2,000 teraflops.

The decision to prioritize China as a key hub for its AV initiatives is unsurprising given the fierce competition in the country’s auto industry, which has led many electric carmakers to invest in autonomous driving. This has resulted in a rich pool of talent experienced in taking the technology from research and development to mass production.

Wu, heading Nvidia’s AV team in China, acknowledges the country’s pivotal role in potentially driving the firm’s commercial success in smart driving. In the job posting, he expressed, “Let’s hope that the Chinese autonomous driving team can become a core force in driving the commercialization of Nvidia’s autonomous driving products, tapping the country’s talent and experience to create autonomous driving products for the global market.”

Nvidia’s AV team, led by Wu, is responsible for a wide range of functions, including designing, creating, and deploying AI systems for automation and autonomous vehicles. The unit specifically handles AI training, testing tasks, and real-time data processing for vehicles such as robotaxis, commercial fleets, and passenger cars.

Wu’s departure from Xpeng was met with approval from his former boss, Xpeng’s founder and CEO He Xiaopeng, who expressed pride in Wu’s new role at Nvidia. There have been hints of a collaboration between Xpeng and Nvidia in the semiconductor sector on social media, with a photo posted by Wu suggesting a close partnership between the two companies.

“Tomorrow is my first day at Nvidia, and I appreciate Xiaopeng for personally escorting me here. According to Old Huang [Jensen Huang], I will still be working for Xiaopeng in the future, just without him having to pay my salary,” Wu wrote in the post.

TechCrunch has reached out to Nvidia for comment on the recruitment announcement.

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