's in-car voice assistant's capabilities are expected to get a boost, with an industry veteran who had left reportedly joining it.

(Image credit: NIO)

NIO's in-car voice assistant's capabilities are expected to be enhanced, with an industry veteran rumored to be joining it.

Zhao Hengyi, formerly head of voice recognition at XPeng Motors, who left in March, will join NIO, local automotive site Xchuxing reported today.

Several departments at XPeng are undergoing reshuffling of executive positions and staff layoffs, with several executive positions having been changed and some executives leaving, the report said, without providing further details.

In late May, another local media outlet, LatePost, reported that XPeng's overseas business team and Internet center were both undergoing extensive restructuring, resulting in the departure of a number of executives.

XPeng's Internet center includes four departments -- product design, technology development, voice, and IoT -- each headed by four vice general managers, according to a previous LatePost report.

In January, Chen Yonghai, formerly vice president of product at Gaode Map, joined XPeng as head of the Internet center. He made significant changes to the business, followed by the departure of Zhao, head of XPeng's voice recognition division, in March, LatePost reported at the time.

Notably, Zhao's LinkedIn page still shows him as a vice general manager at XPeng. He has not updated the information, possibly because LinkedIn's social features are no longer available in China.

Prior to joining XPeng, Zhao served as vice president of local speech recognition software company AISpeech Co Ltd and gave many media interviews.

XPeng is seen as a leader in China in terms of vehicle intelligence, which includes intelligent voice recognition in the car as well as smart driving.

With XPeng's continuous investment in this field over the past few years, its in-car voice assistant is now admired by many for its accuracy in recognizing multiple commands issued by users in succession.

In an OTA update in early August last year, XPeng pushed a new AI voice for P7 vehicles, claiming to bring in-car voice interaction closer to that of a real person.

In 2017, NIO launched the ES8, its first production model. With the launch of the ES8, its in-car voice assistant NOMI became the world's first mass-produced in-car artificial intelligence system.

NIO is not significantly behind in in-car voice recognition technology, as the Business Intelligence Group announced on March 29, 2021, that NIO was one of its Artificial Intelligence Excellence Awards winners for NOMI.

But for NIO owners, NOMI is never too smart, no matter how smart it is. And the addition of Zhao is expected to further increase their expectations.

What is NOMI? Here's everything you need to know