Wang Jing, who used to head Baidu’s autonomous car unit, is to resign from Baidu in April and start his own driverless car startup.
Wang, who spoke at a conference on Monday held by domestic investor Aplus Fund in Beijing, has confirmed that he is leaving Baidu and starting his own startup.
Since joining Baidu in 2010, Wang has set up some research branches for Baidu AI, including the research centers in the United States and Shenzhen. Wang co-founded the company’s research arm Baidu Research in 2013. Then, he set up the autonomous car business inside Baidu and headed the business.
Baidu autonomous cars saw major breakthroughs during Wang’s leadership. The car completed its first road test in 2015. Later in September 2016, Baidu received a permit, the 15th in the world, from the California Department of Motor Vehicles, allowing Baidu to test its autonomous driving technologies in the U.S.
On March 1, Baidu announced in an internal email letter that it is starting a new unit – the Intelligent Driving Group (IDG), headed by newly appointed Baidu group president Qi Lu. IDG consists of autonomous driving, smart car business, and car life.
Moreover, the letter also stated that Wang Jing will no longer head the autonomous car business due to personal reasons.
Wang’s startup will focus on autonomous driving and it has received financing from Aplus Fund. Chinese entrepreneur and educator Yu Minhong and senior banker Sheng Xitai cofounded the fund in November 2014 to invest in areas including AI, fintech, and entertainment.
(Top photo from Baidu Images)