Jianxiong Xiao (Prof X)




A double alumnus of HKUST, Jianxiong – or Professor X as his students in Princeton call him, due to difficulty in pronouncing his Chinese name Xiao Jianxiong – completed his PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and went on to become an Assistant Professor in Princeton. There, he also became the Founding Director of the Computer Vision and Robotics Lab. Then in 2016, Professor X left his promising academic career at Princeton to start his own business venture, AutoX, a high-tech startup that aims to make autonomous driving universally accessible to everyone. 

A relative newcomer to the field of autonomous driving—which includes heavyweights such as Waymo (formerly the Google self-driving car project), Tesla and Uber—AutoX made a splash in early 2017 when it launched a prototype developed from scratch in just six months. This prototype, a car that drives itself using cameras and AutoX’s proprietary technology, operates at just a fraction of the cost of other automated car projects. Instead of relying on traditional LiDar-based approaches, AutoX’s prototype uses artificial intelligence to perceive its surroundings and steer using just the cameras mounted on the car. So far it has been greatly successful in navigating through sunny, nighttime, cloudy and rainy conditions. Unlike other players in the field, however, the AutoX team is not planning to develop their own self-driving cars. Instead, they aim to work with automobile manufacturers to supply technology that can operate their vehicles by perceiving the environment around them. 

With more than ten years of research and engineering experience in Computer Vision, Autonomous Driving, and Robotics under his belt, Professor X is a pioneer in the fields of 3D Deep Learning, RGB-D Recognition and Mapping, Big Data, Large-scale Crowdsourcing, and Deep Learning for Robotics. His work received the Best Student Paper Award at the European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV) in 2012 and the Google Research Best Papers Award for 2012, and has appeared in the popular press. He was awarded the Google US/Canada Fellowship in Computer Vision in 2012, the MIT CSW Best Research Award in 2011, NSF/Intel VEC Research Award in 2016, and two Google Faculty Awards in 2014 and in 2015 respectively. He co-led the MIT+Princeton joint team to participate in the Amazon Picking Challenge in 2016, and won 3rd and 4th place worldwide. 

In 2017, Professor X was named in the MIT Technology Review's Innovators 35 Under 35 List, which recognizes the world's top 35 innovators under the age of 35. He was one out of only five entrepreneurs to receive this recognition this year, and AutoX is the first and only self-driving car company selected in the history of this list.

Most recently, the AutoX team started the AutoX TechBlog to share new progresses in their technology and business with the rest of the world. 

Know more about Professor X from:

MIT Technology Review 2017 - July 24, 2017