Chinese self-driving solutions startup UISEE Technology has completed a new funding round and raised more than 1 billion yuan ($154 million), the company announced on Monday.
The Beijing-based firm has secured the investment from multiple industry investors and China Development Bank’s Manufacturing Transformation and Upgrading Fund, the company said in a press release sent to Pandaily, adding that this is the first investment made by the government-backed fund in the field of autonomous driving.
The firm focuses on developing AI-powered autonomous mobility and logistics solutions initially commercialized for restricted area applications such as airports and factory parks. The company said it will use the fresh funds to boost its research and development of its autonomous driving capabilities and promote the large-scale commercialization of unmanned driving.
In February last year, UISEE raised funds in a Series B financing round from Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH (RBVC), the venture arm of German tech giant Bosch, as well as Shenzhen Venture Capital and CICC Capital. The amount of financing was not disclosed.
UISEE Technology, an acronym for Utilization, Indiscriminate, Safety, Efficiency and Environment, was founded in 2016 by former Intel Research China President, Gansha Wu.
The firm has its headquarters and L4 R&D center in Beijing, L3 and cloud R&D center in Shanghai, as well as other research centers, testing sites and offices in other Chinese cities.
The firm claims to be the only mass supplier of intelligent logistics airport solutions for unmanned vehicles in China, and the first company to start commercial operations of unmanned minibuses. In December 2019, UISEE’s self-driving baggage tractors began operation at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA).
Through partnerships with companies including Changan Minsheng APLL, FAW Logistics, BASF and Dongfeng Motor, the company said it enjoyed “large-scale business growth in 2020”.
Among them, the company’s vehicles have driven 300,000 kilometers in its logistics route for autonomous vehicles developed with SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile, a joint venture between SAIC Motor, General Motors, and Liuzhou Wuling Motors.
The Chinese government has signaled its intention to achieve mass production of lower-level autonomous vehicles by 2025, publishing a strategy for connected vehicles and mobility systems in February. In a 2018 report, Deloitte predicted sales of L4 autonomous vehicles in China to exceed 500,000 units by 2030.
“In China, common consensus in the industry is that autonomous driving, especially the development of L3 and L4 automation, remains a hot area of investment. We’re expecting more new players to enter and disrupt the market in the next two to three years,” Richard Wang, a senior analyst at the Gasgoo Auto Research Institute, previously told Pandaily.