China-based autonomous vehicle technology startup Pony.ai has announced that it has raised $100 million in series C funding. The funds bring the startup’s total raised the amount to more than $1 billion in a post-money valuation of $5.3 billion, compared to $3 billion in February 2020.
Founded in the year 2016 by James Peng (Former Baidu chief architect) and Tiancheng Lou (worked at Google X’s autonomous car project). Pony.ai is a startup that builds full-stack autonomous driving solutions. The company, which operates in China and California, has raised over a billion dollars since it was founded, including 400 million dollars from Toyota. The startup has various partnerships or collaborations with car manufacturers and suppliers, including Bosch, Hyundai and Toyota.
The startup which has offices in Guangzhou and Fremont is one of the few companies who secured an autonomous vehicle testing license in Beijing. Last October, Pony partnered with Via and Hyundai to launch BotRide, the second public Robo-taxi service of the startup after a pilot program (Pony Pilot) in Nansha, China. In November last year, Company has also raised $267 million funding led by TIP with the participation of existing investors 5Y Capital, Fidelity China Special Situations PLC, ClearVue Partners and Eight Roads.
Some experts expect the pandemic to speed up the adoption of autonomous transportation technologies. In spite of the need for disinfection, driverless cars may potentially reduce the risk of disease spread. The complete hardware platform of Pony, PonyAlpha, relies on lidars, radars and cameras to keep an eye on obstacles 200 meters away from its autonomous cars.