Beijing (PingWest)- Toyota backed Pony.ai said on Friday it has raised USD267 million in its Series C financing round led by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board’s Teachers’ Innovation Platform (OTTP), with the participation of Fidelity China Special Situation PLC, 5Y Capital, Eight Roads Ventures.
Previous and existing investors in Pony.ai include video game publisher Beijing Kunlun Wanwei, Sequoia Capital China, IDG Capital, and Legend Capital.
The investment brings the Guangzhou and Fremont based startup’s total raised to over USD1 billion at valuation of USD5.3 billion.
“With new investments that support our growth and deepened partnerships with our existing investors, we are quickly advancing toward future mobility and bringing autonomous vehicle technology to the global market,” James Peng, CEO of Pony.ai, said in a press release.
The latest financing round, which come eight months after the company secured a USD462 million in a funding round led by Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Cooperation.
Co-founded by James Peng, a former executive at Baidu, and two senior technology officer from Baidu and Google, Pony.ai is focusing on the development of Level 4 Autonomous vehicle, which is highest autonomous standard. The company has been testing autonomous cars on the roads for a while, but it is still required human driver in front of the seats.
AutoX is facing increasing competition from rivals such as internet search giant Baidu Inc, Alibaba backed Auto X, as well as Waymo, the self-driving car subsidiary of Google parent company Alphabet.
Pony.ai launched robotaxi operation in Guangzhou in 2018 and later in Beijing. Recently, it launched testing site in Shanghai. In April, it begins provided an autonomous delivery service in Irvine, California as it aimed to fulfill surging demand for online ordering because of the coronavirus lockdown.
Pony.ai is one of the few companies to have secured an autonomous vehicle testing license in Beijing. Stateside, in California, it has obtained a robo-taxi operations permit from the California Public Utilities Commission. Only three other companies have such a license in California: AutoX, Waymo, and Zoox.
The autonomous driving startup has managed its self-driving fleet to travel more than 1.5 million kilometers as of the end of 2019. In comparison, its major rival-Google self-driving arm Waymo reported a 32.2 million kilometers of driving on public roads after 10 years of operation.