Chinese language driverless automobile launch firm WeRide has raised $ 310 million

A car with autonomous WeRide driving technology in Guangzhou, China.

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GUANGZHOU, China – Chinese driverless car start-up WeRide has raised $ 310 million in a new round of funding to advance the commercialization of its technology.

The Yutong Group, a Chinese company that manufactures commercial vehicles including electric buses, is leading the financing round.

A number of other new investors joined, while existing venture capital firms also participated.

WeRide did not disclose its rating and declined to comment when CNBC contacted him.

The Guangzhou-based company is one of a handful of companies in China trying to become leaders in driverless vehicle technology. WeRide is focused on building the technology that enables vehicles to be autonomous rather than actually making automobiles.

WeRide’s round of funding follows a cash injection into rival Pony.ai in November that saw its valuation exceed $ 5 billion. Other companies, including search giant Baidu, startup AutoX, and hail-fighting company Didi, are competing in the same field.

In a press release, WeRide CEO Tony Han said the funding and new investors will provide the company with “the strategic resources to achieve its goal of commercializing self-driving technologies.”

In late 2019, WeRide launched a robot taxi project in Guangzhou and has since expanded to allow users to celebrate a ride through Alibaba’s Amap app. The company announces that it will start testing “Mini Robobuses” on Friday.

Han, CEO of WeRide, previously told CNBC that he predicts that large-scale use of robotic taxis will occur between 2023 and 2025. He said WeRide will start making money from the business from 2025.

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