Ya-Qin Zhang

Ya-Qin Zhang

Tsinghua University

Date: Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Title: Towards Autonomous Driving 

Abstract: The automotive and transportation industry is going through a tectonic shift in the next decade with the advent of Connectivity, Automation, Sharing, and Electrification (CASE). Autonomous driving presents a historical opportunity to transform the academic, technological, and industrial landscape with advanced sensing and actuation, high definition mapping, new machine learning algorithms, smart planning and control, increasing computing powers, and new infrastructure with 5G, cloud and edge computing. Indeed, we have witnessed unprecedented innovation and activities in the past five years in R&D, investment, joint ventures, road tests and commercial trials, from auto makers, tier-ones, and new forces from the internet and high-tech industries.

In this talk, I will speak about this historical opportunity and challenges from technological, industrial and policy perspectives. I will address some of the core controversial and critical issues in the advancement of autonomous driving: open vs closed, Lidar vs cameras, progressive L2-L3-L4 vs new L4, autonomous capabilities vs V2X, Robotaxi vs vertical, China vs global, automakers vs new players, and the evolutional path and end game.

Bio: Dr. Ya-Qin Zhang is Chair Professor of AI Science at Tsinghua University, and Dean of Institute for AI Industry Research of Tsinghua University (AIR). He was the President of Baidu Inc. from 2014 to 2019. Prior to Baidu, Dr. Zhang was a Microsoft executive for 16 years with different key positions, including Managing Director of Microsoft Research Asia, Chairman of Microsoft China, and Corporate Vice President and Chairman of Microsoft Asia R&D.

Dr. Zhang was elected to the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAA&S), the Australian Academy of Engineering (ATSE), the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), and the Euro-Asia Academy of Sciences. He is a Fellow of IEEE and CAAI. He is one of the top scientists and technologists in digital video and AI, with over 500 papers, 60 granted US patents, and 11 books. His original research has become the basis for start-up ventures, new products, and international standards in digital video, cloud computing, and autonomous driving.

He serves on the Board of Directors of four public companies. He is on the industry board of United Nation Development Program (UNDP), and AI global council of the Davos World Economic Forum. He is the Chairman of world’s largest open autonomous driving platform “Apollo” alliance with over 200 global partners. He has been an active speaker in global forums including APEC, Davos, United Nations, and Bo’Ao Asia Forum.

Maarten de Rijke

Maarten de Rijke

University of Amsterdam

Maarten de Rijke is a Distinguished University Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Information Retrieval at the University of Amsterdam. He is also the scientific director of the national Innovation Center for Artificial Intelligence (ICAI). His research is focused on designing trustworthy technology to connect people to information, particularly search engines, recommender systems, and conversational assistants. His work targets two key questions: How can we create intrinsic trust in information retrieval systems, that is, align their reasoning process with human expectations? And how can we establish extrinsic trust in information retrieval systems, that is, establish verifiable guarantees on their behavior?

Dr Rosie Jones

Rosie Jones


Dr. Rosie Jones is Director of Research at Spotify, where she leads a team of research scientists working on search and natural language understanding for music and podcasts. Before that, she worked at Microsoft, in the New England Research and Development Center (NERD), on conversational understanding. Prior to this she was Director of Data Science at MediaMath, where she led a team conducting research on large-scale machine learned models for display advertising. She moved to MediaMath via an acquisition from Akamai. Prior to working at Akamai, Dr Jones spent 8 years as a scientist at Yahoo! Labs, working on search and sponsored search. Her research interests include online user behavior, conversational understanding systems, web search, natural language processing and computational advertising. Dr. Jones has a PhD in Language and Information Technologies from Carnegie Mellon University and a B.Sc. from the University of Sydney, majoring in Computer Science. Her research at Microsoft, Akamai and Yahoo! has led to publications, product improvements and 14 issued patents, as well as academic service including senior PC member for COLING and SIGIR. Dr Jones is a Senior Member of the ACM.