Alliance Ventures has conducted its first business in China with an investment into WeRide.ai, an autonomous driving company focused on highly-automated L4 self-driving technology.
As the venture capital arm of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, Alliance Ventures has become the lead strategic investor of WeRide.ai following completion of the company’s Series A funding.
The investment is said to be part of Alliance Ventures’ strategy of supporting entrepreneurs and start-ups seen as leaders in developing next-generation automotive technology.
François Dossa, Alliance Global Vice President, Ventures and Open innovation, said: “We aim to introduce autonomous mobility in key markets such as China, so we are delighted to be supporting WeRide.ai as it pioneers such full autonomous systems.”
WeRide.ai will use the investment to deploy a fleet of 500 autonomous vehicles in 2019, accumulate 5 million kilometres of autonomous driving mileage, and conduct operational and commercialisation trials in Guangzhou and Anqing with its key partners.
WeRide.ai was founded in Silicon Valley in April 2017 by co-founder and CEO Tony Han, former chief scientist of Baidu’s Autonomous Driving Unit. By June WeRide.ai had completed its first autonomous public road test.
After relocating its global HQ to China in December 2017, WeRide.ai passed a number of milestones, including becoming the first company to deploy AV long-distance tunnel crossing technology in China, followed by road tests on an autonomous SUV developed in partnership with Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC).
Since launching its autonomous trial operations in China, WeRide.ai’s autonomous vehicles have accumulated a total mileage of over 60,000km, and served over 3,000 passengers worldwide.
Han said: “On top of financial investment, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi and WeRide.ai will also form deep technical and strategic cooperation at a global scale. We truly 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 has over 200 employees worldwide (70 per cent of whom are engineers) and plans to deliver the world’s first large-scale commercial application of autonomous vehicle technology.