Nissan-backed Autonomous Driving Startup WeRide Raises ‘Hundreds of Millions' in its Latest Funding Round
China-based autonomous driving startup WeRide, a company backed by automakers Nissan Renault and Mitsubishi Motors said it raised "hundreds of millions" of dollars in its latest funding round, Reuters reported on Wednesday. The new funding values the startup at roughly $3.3 billion.
Investors taking part in the latest funding round include IDG Capital and Homeric Capital, WeRide said in a statement on Thursday. WeRide did not disclose details on the size of its latest funding. The company also raised $310 million in January.
WeRide was founded in 2017. The company is headquartered in Guangzhou, China, and maintains R&D and operation centers in Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Wuhan, Zhengzhou and Anqing, as well as Silicon Valley.
WeRide is testing its vehicles in California and in Guangzhou, China, as well as in the central city of Zhengzhou.
Last month, WeRide received a permit from the California's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to test its autonomous vehicles on public roads in San Jose without safety drivers onboard. The company was granted a similar permit in China in July 2020.
WeRide is working on SAE Level 4 autonomous driving, which requires no human intervention.
As of April, 2021, WeRide's fleet of self-driving vehicles has traveled over 100,000 kilometers. The company's total autonomous mileage has surpassed 4,500,000 kilometers with its fleet of over 100 vehicles, including driverless testing, autonomous testing and its Robotaxi operation in China.
WeRide has offered its Robotaxi services since June 2020 in China. The service is open to the public through Amap, a popular ride-hailing app in China with 140 million monthly active users. Since then, WeRide completed 147,128 trips serving more than 60,000 passengers.
Tony Han, Founder and CEO of WeRide, set "stability" as the company's goal last year. As a result, WeRide is focusing on strengthening system stability and achieving safe Level 4 autonomous driving capabilities.
"Through our driverless tests in both China and the US, WeRide will be able to give full play to the advantages of technology, talents and policies in both countries, enhance public confidence with stable and reliable technology and promote the commercialization of the driverless service in the next few years," said Mr Han last month.
WeRide is also working on autonomous buses in China. In Nov 2020, the company deployed the first self-driving mini-buses. The buses are equipped with WeRide's L4 autonomous driving hardware and software, which is installed during production. The minibuses have been deployed for testing on public roads in the Chinese cities of Guangzhou, Nanjing and Zhengzhou.
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