Shenzhen City-based self-driving startup Roadstar.ai today announced US$128 million in Series A Funding, setting a single round private financing record for China’s autonomous driving industry. The investment was led by Wu Capital and Shenzhen Capital Group, joined by Yunqi Partners, CMB International Capital Corporation, and Vision Plus Capital.
Founded in May 2017, Roadstar.ai focuses on Level 4 autonomous driving. The company has R&D centers in Shenzhen and Silicon Valley and has been testing Lincoln MKZ cars equipped with LiDar, cameras, GPS, and various other sensors on Chinese and US public roads since last September.
Roadstar also unveiled its first self-driving tech kit Aries (锐). Billed as the world’s first urban self-driving solution compatible with China-made LiDar, Aries (锐) is expected to enable L4 performance with a per-vehicle cost under CN¥50,000 (about US$8,000) by 2020.
China’s self-driving startups have wowed the world in recent months with huge funding rounds. Earlier this year, Guangzhou-based Pony.ai scored a staggering US$112 million in Series A funding, while Jingchi.ai (US$52 million) and Nuro (US$92 million) also did extremely well.
Chinese tech giants Tencent, Alibaba, and Baidu have jumped on the bandwagon and obtained domestic autonomous vehicle testing licenses. And, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles’ website, leading Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing received authorization to run autonomous vehicles in California starting May 10.
Roadstar’s considerable strength in the autonomous driving field is built on its two independent technologies:
- HeteroSync (multi-sensor synchronization) uses multi-sensor data to provide highly accurate time and space synchronization data for self-driving systems, for example updating road conditions in real time.
- DeepFusion (depth fusion of data) generates robust, efficient, and safe autonomous driving solutions by combining high-dimensional sensor data.
Roadstar.ai’s ambitious goal for 2020 is to reduce its self-driving vehicles’ safety driver intervention rate to one instance per 1,000 km travelled. The company told Synced they will deploy 50 new self-driving vehicles in China, expand the fleet to 200 in 2019 and 1,500 vehicles by 2020.
Journalist: Tony Peng| Editor: Michael Sarazen