Agibot (智元机器人), a startup founded by one of China’s tech prodigies and a Huawei alumnus, will launch its first humanoid robot on August 18.
Zhi Huijun, the avatar of Peng Zhihui, co-founder of the Shanghai-headquartered tech firm, revealed yesterday via his microblogging service that its embodied AI robot Yuanzheng A1 — Yuanzheng literally translates as expedition — will make its debut on August 18.
He didn’t offer more details on the soon-to-be-unveiled product, but a company poster affords a glimpse into its possible appearance. It shows a silhouette of a human-shaped robot standing on two legs.
This will be a milestone in the history of the startup, which was founded in February this year.
Since Peng announced his leap into tech entrepreneurship, the domestic tech community has been abuzz with speculation about when his first release will come out and what it will be.
Born in 1993 to a family in eastern China’s Jiangxi Province, Peng grew up loving science and technology.
Upon his graduation from University of Electronic Science and Technology with a master’s in 2018, he joined the AI lab of smartphone giant Oppo’s research institute as an algorithm engineer.
He left Oppo for Huawei in 2020, where he was involved in developing AI chips under the Ascend brand and researching AI algorithms.
Huawei prodigy cum tech influencer
Peng rose to prominence over the many video clips he posted about hard tech products on Bilibili, a video-sharing website similar to YouTube.
His crowing glory came in 2021, when Bilibili recognized him as one of its 100 most influential content creators for that year.
Even Huawei’s founder, chairman and CEO Ren Zhengfei once publicly praised him and his work, saying he represented the dynamics of Huawei’s innovation.
“To those with the 2012 Lab (Huawei’s lab dedicated to theoretical research), Huawei has never foisted any restrictions on you. Someone experimented with a self-driving bike, and didn’t feel bound by company rules,” said Ren, referring to an autonomous bike put together by Peng and his co-workers.
Although Huawei will not venture into bike production, these skill sets are a “scalpel” he masters, and may become handy or unleash some kind of enormous commercial value, Ren added.
Peng has been basking in adulation since his stint at Huawei, earning nicknames such as “Mr. Zhihui,” “Huawei’s prodigy” and “free-wheeling iron man.”
When was asked about his entrepreneurial program after leaving Huawei, Peng wrote in a microblogging entry in December last year that he will “embark on a new venture and engage in something more challenging.”
“This is not because we have the confidence to do it well, but because this has been our passion and dream all along,” the former influencer said.
China’s emerging humanoid robot space has drawn an increasing number of tech experts and enthusiasts, from entrenched leaders like Xiaomi, to up-and-coming startups like Fourier Intelligence and even college researchers and students.