To Inspire. To Be Inspired. – 30 Stories on HKUST Faculty, Alumni and Students

Every day it seems we move closer to what were once just futuristic imaginings. Among them are self-driving cars. Xiao Jianxiong, known as Professor X in the AI industry, has been steering and accelerating autonomous vehicle development, bringing together entrepreneurial spirit and engineering innovation. Dressed for a business meeting and wheeling a piece of luggage to the curb, a pedestrian waits on the side of the road for the taxi she has just called. A spacious white car pulls up slowly, its boot opening for her suitcase. As she climbs into the vehicle and buckles herself in, she leans forward to press "GO". The car whirs into motion — seemingly by magic, as this car has no driver. This is a RoboTaxi in the Mainland, created by AutoX, the brainchild of innovator, entrepreneur, and technology pioneer, Xiao Jianxiong. The pursuit of self-driving cars continues to consume some of engineering’s best and brightest minds — and with good reason: autonomous vehicles have the potential to open up the future of smart driving and smart cities, which will eventually transform our ways of living. Professor X, an HKUST alumnus, has been making the impossible possible with his mission of democratizing autonomy and accelerating the reality of driverless cars. He wants to make self-driving cars as widely accessible as computers are today — and he’s well on his way. His company, AutoX, has the largest fleet of automated robocars in the Mainland and is currently the only one operating the service on public roads without safety drivers. In 2019, AutoX became only the second company in the world to be permitted by the California Public Utilities Commission to operate a RoboTaxi pilot program. 25