Autonomous vehicle startup WeRide raises $320 million


WeRide, a Guangzhou, China-based startup growing autonomous car methods, this night introduced that it raised a complete of $310 million in sequence B funding after finishing sequence B2 and B3 rounds. The fundraising follows the closure of a $200 million strategic spherical by Chinese language bus maker Yutong in December; this tranche added $110 million to WeRide’s sequence B haul..

Some specialists predict the pandemic will hasten the adoption of autonomous automobiles for supply. Self-driving vehicles, vans, and vans promise to attenuate the danger of spreading illness by limiting driver contact, which is probably why individuals throughout the globe belief the security of autonomous automobiles greater than they did three years in the past, based on a number of surveys by Deloitte.

WeRide, which was based in 2017 and has R&D and operations facilities in Beijing, Shanghai, and Silicon Valley, goals to develop “degree 4” driverless vehicles that may deal with nearly all of driving conditions independently with out human intervention. WeRide labored with Yutong, a 57-year-old firm, to make autonomous-driving minibuses and metropolis buses with out steering wheels, accelerators, or brakes supposed for city open roads.

WeRide launched a publicly accessible robo-taxi service in Guangzhou in November 2019, overlaying an space roughly 89 sq. miles within the Huangpu and Guangzhou Growth districts. In June, WeRide’s robo-taxi service turned out there to the general public by way of Amap, a well-liked ride-hailing cellular app in China.

WeRide claims its robo-taxis accomplished a complete of 147,128 journeys for greater than 60,000 passengers in the course of the first yr of its service’s operation. Beginning January 15, the corporate plans to launch a pilot with shuttles and vehicles counting on its autonomous navigation methods round Guangzhou Worldwide Bio Island, overlaying all the area’s enterprise and industrial districts.

WeRide additionally says it plans to deploy its self-driving fleet within the Guangzhou downtown space
later this yr, in addition to broaden to different cities.

“Within the yr 2021, extra main buyers and companions are becoming a member of us, bringing of their strategic assets to meet the objective of commercializing self-driving expertise. WeRide is capturing the upward pattern within the improvement of AI- empowered mobility trade, and additional accelerates R&D and the  commercialization of our applied sciences,” CEO and founder Tony Han mentioned in an announcement. “We’ll strengthen the steadiness and security of self-driving methods, function our companies whereas adhering to laws, and try to deliver extra self-driving merchandise to the market. We firmly consider that this expertise will make the world higher for everybody.”

Yutong remained the strategic lead investor of WeRide’s newest tranche. Different backers included CMC Capital Companions, CDB Gear Manufacturing Fund, Hengjian Rising Industries Fund, Zhuhai Huajin Capital, and Tryin Capital. Qiming Enterprise Companions, Sinovation Ventures, and Kinzon Capital, who have been concerned within the earlier rounds, additionally participated within the funding.

Different main automakers together with Nissan, Renault, and Mitsubishi beforehand invested in WeRide. Thus far, the corporate has raised over $500 million.

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