HoloMatic, an autonomous driving technology company in China, announced on November 11 that it had completed a C2 round of financing, led by GAC Capital and followed by Zhidu Investment and Chaos Investment. So far, the total amount of this C round of financing for HoloMatic has totaled $100 million.
HoloMatic was established in June 2017 and has completed five rounds of financing so far. GAC Group has so far been the most important customer of the company. In October 2021, both parties announced that a number of GAC models equipped with HoloMatic’s automatic driving system will be listed in 2022. Further, HoloMatic will provide intelligent driving functions for GAC’s Trumpchi and Aion brands, covering high speed, urban roads and parking.
The current capital environment for autonomous driving industry is rather poor, and has witnessed a reduction in valuation of leading companies, many layoffs and the slow financing of startups. According to IT Juzi’s statistics, in the first 10 months of this year, there were 94 financing deals in the country’s autonomous driving industry, with a total financing amount of 48.4 billion yuan, a decrease of 33% and 65% respectively compared with the same period in 2021. 36Kr reported on November 6 that Pony.ai, an autonomous driving company, is undergoing a business adjustment and a downsizing of its infrastructure & data department.
In this context, Ni Kai, founder and CEO of HoloMatic, said that the company is expected to make a profit in 2024. Ni graduated from Tsinghua University with a major in automation and joined Baidu as a senior scientist at deep learning research institute in 2013. He subsequently left Baidu in 2016 and founded HoloMatic in 2017.
In 2018, HoloMatic released two prototypes of its automatic highway driving and intelligent parking features, and in 2019, it began large-scale testing. In 2021, it acquired its first major customer – GAC Group, and began to jointly develop a mass-produced automatic driving system with GAC’s research institute. In June this year, GAC released ADiGO PILOT assisted driving system, which supports a “super parking” function in addition to collision warning and adaptive cruise.
In addition to algorithms, HoloMatic provides automatic driving domain controllers to automobile companies. This hardware has been developed by HoloMatic and produced by its foundries.
According to an IDC report, in the first quarter of 2022, the penetration rate of L2 and above autonomous driving in the passenger car market and new energy vehicle market reached 23.2% and 35%. As new opportunities appear, LatePost believed that automobile companies now have three ways to join in.
The first method is to build teams through in-house development and acquisition. Huawei, NIO, XPeng, Li Auto and other companies all have large-scale autonomous driving development teams. Xiaomi acquired DeepMotion.ai, an autonomous driving startup, in August 2021. In 2019, the Great Wall Motor hatched Haomo.ai with a focus on autonomous driving.
The second method is to work with a major supplier, including the establishment of joint ventures. Last month, Volkswagen invested €2.4 billion in Horizon Robotics, and the two sides then set up a joint venture. The JV will develop automatic driving and assisted driving systems based on Horizon Robotics’ chips, which will be installed on pure electric vehicles sold by Volkswagen in China. SAIC invested in Momenta three times in 2021, and the latter’s automatic driving scheme has been installed in SAIC’s IM L7 model.
The third method is to cooperate with many companies. LatePost said that BYD is adopting this strategy. When bidding, BYD will test the complete workflow, but when placing orders, BYD tends to break up its scheme and hand over different functions to different autonomous driving technology suppliers.