Following the leave of NIO’s North American CEO Padmasree Warrior in late 2018, recently, North American branch broke the rumors of massive layoffs. On August 28th, Ganesh V. Iyer, CIO and Managing Director of North America of NIO, met with the media at the Shenzhen NIO Center.
According to the introduction of Ganesh, NIO North America branch plays the role of “technical soul”, neither it will not “dissolve the North American office”, nor “large-scale layoffs”, but only reasonable optimize in the organizational structure.
According to Ganesh, NIO North America has more than 500 employees, of which R&D engineers account for about 85-90%, others are administrative and logistics personnel, including supply chain, IT, finance, human resources, legal support and other departments. NIO North America is divided into five teams: autonomous driving, digital cockpit, digital systems, electric drive engineering and vehicle engineering.
Except its research and development base in San Jose, NIO has deployed four large R&D bases in Shanghai, Beijing, Munich and London, which together produce technical power for NIO.
Ganesh officially joined NIO in April 2016. Prior to that, he worked for Tesla for five years, participated in Tesla product development, and provided Tesla with the entire IT ecosystem. Prior to his tenure at Tesla, he served as an executive in IT departments such as VIA, Juniper, and Netcom. After Wu Sili left, the CEO of NIO North America has not yet been finalized. Ganesh is currently responsible for team management coordination and may have the opportunity to become the next CEO.
Ganesh also introduced several other core members of the North American team. One of them was Jamie Carlson, who led the autonomous driving team. He joined Tesla before joining NIO, he was one of the founding engineers of the initial version of the Tesla Autopilot system.
Jamie Carlson graduated from the University of Minnesota and worked for Gentex, an automotive parts supplier, where he was responsible for the development of ADAS autopilot assist systems for several automotive OEMs. Jamie then worked for Tesla and became a founding team member of the Autopilot project. After Tesla, Jamie joined Apple’s special project team. In October 2016, Jamie joined NIO as Vice President of NIO Autonomous Driving.
After Jamie joined, NIO officially decided to self-develop autonomous driving technology. According to Ganesh, since autonomous driving is the core strategic project of NIO, Jamie reports directly to Li Bin.
Ganesh also introduced Bruno Barthelemy, vice president of vehicle engineering at NIO. He worked for Ford as a chief engineer and had in-depth research on all-aluminum body technology; Rick Rajaie, senior director of electric drive, is proficient in power battery technology.
From the perspective of overall staff quality, NIO North America is a global team with employees from Tesla, Apple, Waymo, Lyft, Cisco and other technology companies, as well as traditional OEMs such as GM, Toyota and Ford.
NIO North America Branch officially opened in October 2016. In the past three years, through positive research and development, it has exported certain technological achievements to NIO. It mainly included ESS (electric energy storage system), EDS (electric drive system), BMS (battery management system), intelligent gateway, automatic driving and NOMI (artificial intelligence interactive system).
For example, the NIO Pilot from NIO was built by the Jamie team. The NIO Pilot is an L2 level automatic assisted driving system that assists the driver in driving under certain scenarios. Covers ACC, AEB (automatic emergency braking), LDW (lane departure warning), AHB (far and near light automatic control), FCW (forward collision warning), BSD (vehicle blind spot monitoring) and other functions. The NIO Pilot is already available on the NIO ES8 and ES6.
NIO’s autopilot research was jointly carried out by the North American team and the Shanghai team. In addition to the L2 NIO Pilot, it also studied L4 level autopilot and invested more than 300 engineers, it was led by Jamie, technology research such as environmental awareness, data fusion, path planning, vehicle control, artificial intelligence, and vehicle networking is being carried out..
In addition, the North American team also built the Now-NP1 digital architecture, it built L2 level autopilot, NOMI intelligent assistant, vehicle software system remote upgrade (FOTA), high performance Ethernet electronic architecture, and the interconnected NIO ecosystem based on this platform. The North American team also built the car-oriented and cloud service platform for the client, as well as a digital security system.