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Robotaxi start-up valued at $8.5 billion after fresh funding

[ad_1] and Toyota jointly created an autonomous vehicle. It will be on display at the 3rd China International Import Expo in Shanghai (November 5, 2020)

Visual China Group | Getty Images, a Chinese autonomous driving company, announced Monday that its value has increased to $8.5 billion following a fresh round of funding.

Strong investor interest in self-driving cars and taxis is evident by the high valuation and funding round. was established in 2016 by Toyota and is backed today by the automaker. The company makes driverless systems that can be used by automakers and is a competitor to the likes of Waymo, the self-driving car subsidiary of Google parent Alphabet. is now testing its robotaxisGuangzhou in China, and California. Safety drivers are still needed behind the wheel.

There have been some difficulties for the start-up in recent months. California Department of Motor Vehicles notified the startup in December. suspended’s driverless testing permitOne of their cars was struck by a Fremont traffic sign and road center divider.’s plans to be publicized in the U.S. were halted last year due to China’s tightening regulations regarding the country’s technology sector. Reuters reported.

According to company statements, money raised from this latest cash injection will be invested in hiring, research and testing driverless taxis.’s valuation of $8.5 billion is an impressive improvement on its previous funding round. November 2020 when it was valued at $5.3 billion.’s CEO James Peng said that funding would allow “to open up a variety of new autonomous vehicles global testing and operations sites” as well as “progress” its strategic partnership and expand its vehicle fleet.

Lawrence Steyn ( Finance Chief), who was hired last year, said the new money “funds development at several years into the future — in fact, we believe, up to the window for our anticipated launch of mass commercialization.”

Steyn didn’t say when mass commercialization is being pursued by the company., one of many autonomous driving companies based in China that aims to promote the commercialization of driverless cars, is just one example. It is competing with Alibaba-backed DeepRoute.aiAlso available: WeRide. In the meantime, Internet giant BaiduSpecializing in autonomous vehicles, the company has increased its car fleet by aggressive expansion and received approval last year. begin charging fares in Beijing for its robotaxis.