Alliance Ventures has become the lead investor of WeRide.ai, formerly JingChi.ai, China’s leading autonomous driving company focused on Level 4 (L4) self-driving technology, following completion of the company’s Series A funding.
The investment in WeRide.ai by Alliance Ventures – the venture capital arm of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi – is the first investment in China and part of the plan to support entrepreneurs and start-ups.
As a result of the Alliance Ventures support, WeRide.ai will become the first Chinese start-up specialising in L4 autonomous driving to receive investment from, and form a strategic partnership with, a global automotive group.
“Autonomous systems are a key priority of the Alliance as we develop new mobility services,” said Alliance Global VP, Ventures and Open Innovation, François Dossa.
“Our member companies are committed to introducing such technologies in key markets such as China, so we are delighted to be supporting WeRide.ai as it pioneers such full autonomous systems for the demanding Chinese market-place.”
For his part, WeRide.ai CEO and co-founder, Tony Han, added:”In addition to the financial investment, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi and WeRide.ai will further our relationship through cooperation in specific areas.
“We believe the next stage of autonomous transportation revolution 2.0 has arrived. WeRide.ai will continue leading the technology revolution and provide relevant and meaningful benefits to everyone.”
WeRide.ai plans to deploy a fleet of 500 autonomous vehicles in 2019, to accumulate 5m kilometres of actual autonomous driving mileage and conduct operation and commercialisation trials in Guangzhou and Anqing with key partners.
Since launching its autonomous trial operations in China, WeRide.ai’s autonomous vehicles have accumulated a total mileage of more than 60,000km and served more than 3,000 passengers worldwide.
Pre-A round lead-investor, Qiming Venture Capital participated in the latest round, which was also supported by Hanfor Capital, Atop Capital, Johnson Electric, Xiaopeng He, Idinvest Partners, and OceanIQ Capital.
WeRide.ai, which currently has more than 200 employees worldwide, 70% of whom are engineers, is the first autonomous driving company in China to use 5G network for remote control of a driverless vehicle.
The company’s goal is to bring autonomous vehicle operations into Chinese cities by 2020 and become the world’s first large-scale commercial application of autonomous vehicle technology.