On Monday, autonomous driving startup Pony.ai announced the initial closing of its Series D funding round, reaching an overall valuation of $8.5 billion – about 65% higher than the previous round.
The company has achieved several milestones in the technology and commercialization of self-driving mobility services (sometimes called robotaxis) and smart logistics since it closed its Series C funding round in February last year. The funds raised in this recent round are to be used for team expansion, technological development, scaling up the robotaxi and robotruck team, global testing and operations, mass production of self-driving technology, commercialization and other business areas.
Looking ahead to 2022, Peng Jun, co-founder and CEO of Pony.ai, indicated rapid global advancement of autonomous driving technology. “With our team’s efforts, Pony.ai has reached numerous milestones in 2021,” said Peng. “We will further scale up our team, open new test operation centers globally, promote strategic partnerships on all fronts, as well as expand our self-driving team size.”
Pony.ai was established in December 2016 by Peng Jun, the former chief architect of Baidu‘s autonomous driving department, and Lou Tiancheng, a former lead engineer at Baidu. The two individuals currently serve as CEO and CTO of Pony.ai, respectively. The company completed a Series C round of financing totaling $367 million in February 2021.
Since it was established, Pony.ai has gone through several rounds of financing. Its investors are mainly well-known institutions and OEMs, including Sequoia Capital, IDG, 5Y Capital, Legend Star, Legend Capital, Brunei Investment Agency, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Toyota Motor and others.