Why Robotics Veteran Zhang Li Joined A Legged Robotics Startup


New Opportunity for Zhang Li

Zhang Li, a former executive at WeRide, a Chinese autonomous vehicle company, has made a surprising move by joining LimX Dynamics, a Shenzhen-based robotics startup. Zhang’s decision to leave WeRide, which recently filed for an IPO, was driven by his aspiration to work on the “next big thing.” As the co-founder and chief operating officer of LimX Dynamics, Zhang will focus on business strategy, operations, channel development, marketing and communications, and government relations.

Key Takeaway

Zhang Li, a former executive at WeRide, has left the autonomous vehicle industry to join LimX Dynamics, a legged robotics startup. Zhang’s move aligns with China’s plans to mass-produce humanoid robots by 2025. He brings his experience and expertise to LimX Dynamics as the company aims to revolutionize the field of legged robotics.

A Fortuitous Timing

The timing of Zhang’s move seems to align with China’s plans for the robotics industry. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology recently released a blueprint outlining the country’s goal to mass-produce humanoid robots by 2025. Such initiatives have historically attracted talent and capital to nascent technology fields.

The Attraction to LimX Dynamics

After being in the autonomous vehicle industry for five years, Zhang felt the need to explore new opportunities. He sought out a startup that possessed cutting-edge technology and the ability to attract significant capital. LimX Dynamics fit the criteria. The startup, co-founded by a group of robotics scientists, has already raised 200 million yuan ($27.5 million) and has appointed Zhang as its COO. The addition of Dr. Jia Pan, a tenured associate professor, as the chief scientist further strengthens the company’s expertise.

The Transition from Autonomous Vehicles to Legged Robots

Zhang believes that his experience in the autonomous vehicle industry will be transferable to the legged robotics field. He sees similarities between the two areas, such as the use of Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) technology. Zhang envisions a future where households own robots for domestic tasks, similar to how they own cars for transportation purposes.

Exploring New Possibilities

While there are undeniable parallels between the two industries, Zhang acknowledges that bipedal robots navigating pedestrian routes present unique challenges. However, he also sees opportunities for shared supply chains and sales channels between vehicles and robots. LimX Dynamics is currently piloting a prototype for industrial inspection and aims to expand its robots’ application in automobile manufacturing, logistics, and household services. Zhang’s goal is to explore new possibilities and find use cases that may not even be conceivable at present.

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