Chinese media outlet 36Kr reported on Wednesday that Qiangua Technology, a Chinese autonomous driving truck company, has recently completed financing of about 200 million yuan ($31.4 million), and is now valued at over 1 billion yuan. Investors in this round are SF Express, Baidu, XPeng Motors and IDG.
Qiangua Technology was established in July this year, as a startup that provides logistics and transportation services based on automated driving technology. Its founders are Sun Haowen and Ding Fei.
Sun Haowen was a senior director for R&D of PonyTron, the truck business under Pony.ai. Sun was responsible for the research and development of automated driving technology. Ding Fei was an executive director of IDG Capital. The other two cofounders of Qiangua Technology are middle-level or senior executives from Baidu, Alibaba or Tencent. The two may serve as CEO and CTO.
Compared with robotaxis, automated driving trucks is a B-end business for traditional freight logistics enterprises. These companies have been for a long time been troubled by industry problems such as high labor costs and fatigue of drivers. These issues are exactly the opportunity for automated driving truck companies.
As a production tool in the logistics and transportation industry, automated driving trucks can improve the safety of freight driving and help logistics companies reduce costs.
Many robotaxi companies now are engaged in freight logistics as a way to seek more business opportunities.
Pony.ai officially entered the field of automated driving trucks through “PonyTron.” Although the truck team is integrated with the automated driving passenger car team, the company is still developing automated driving for trucks. WeRide also works in this field after acquiring automated driving company Muyue Technology.
In addition, many traditional freight logistics companies have invested more in automated driving freight transportation. In August last year, FOR-U established a joint venture with Trunk.tech, an automated driving truck technology service provider. In September this year, DeepWay, jointly established by freight logistics company Shiqiao and Baidu, also released an intelligent new energy heavy duty truck: the Xingtu Generation 1.
Companies such as TuSimple, Plus and Inceptio Technology have been committed to automated driving trucks from the very beginning, and now work on mass production and R&D jointly with related truck companies. With Qiangua Technology’s participation, the competition for automated driving trucks is increasingly fierce and intense.