In spite of an ongoing collaboration with Intel’s self-driving subsidiary Mobileye, media outlet LatePost announced on Wednesday, Chinese electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Nio has relaunched its homegrown Level 4 self-driving technology research and development project, which allows fully autonomous driving.

Ren Shaoqing, assistant vice president of Nio, a computer vision specialist and co-founder of Momenta, a Chinese autonomous driving start-up, is responsible for the project and reports directly to William Li Bin, founder and CEO of Nio. Zhang Jianyong, a Nio veteran who worked at the self-driving unit of state-owned SAIC Motor before joining Nio as a director, was recently promoted to assistant VP, also reporting to Li, according to LatePost. In June, Jamie Carlson, who had been Nio’s tech lead and a former Tesla and Apple engineer since 2016, left the company.

As early as 2015, Nio began looking at self-driving technology and formed R&D teams in both the US and China, because founder Li considered it “critical for smart EV.” In 2019, cash-strapped Nio slowed its drive into autonomous vehicle (AV) money-burning study, laying off hundreds of employees in the division. The company entered into a partnership with Mobileye in November last year in which Nio would engineer and create a self-driving device based on its L4 package, developed by Mobileye.

In October, 36Kr announced that Nio is preparing to build its own AV chips and that it has developed a hardware unit, dubbed “Smart HW (hardware),” ramping up and strengthening its advantages in homegrown technology.



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