Chinese Autonomous Vehicle Startup WeRide Raises USD200 million From Bus Maker Yutong

December 23, 2020 0:25 pm

Beijing (PingWest)- Chinese autonomous driving start-up WeRide has raised USD200 million in Series B1 funding from Yutong Group, the parent of bus manufacturer Zhengzhou Yutong Bus Co Ltd, while two companies agreed to collaborate on developing self-driving buses.

In a statement, WeRide said two companies would develop autonomous minibuses, city buses and other commercial vehicles.  

The cooperative areas includes research and development, vehicle platforms and mobility services, WeRide CEO and co-founder Tony Han said.

“WeRide is now the only autonomous driving company to obtain strategic investment from leading automakers of both commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles,” the companies said in a joint press release on Wednesday.

Prior to the new funding round, WeRide secured a total investment of USD207 million from investor including Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance and Chinese EV maker Xpeng Motors’ CEO He Xiaopeng this year, Pitchbook data showed.

Many traditional vehicle makers have ventured into autonomous driving through investment.

WeRide’s rival has raised funds from traditional carmakers such as Japanese car giant Toyota Motor and FAW Group, which has partnered with Chinese search engine Baidu to develop self-driving car models, other traditional carmakers that partnered with Baidu includes Sweden’s Volvo Cars and US carmaker Ford Motor.

WeRide is pursuing a level 4 autonomous standard, the company obtained government approval to roll out a pilot robotaxi programme in Guangzhou in November,2019, making it the first self-driving start up in China to receive green light from officials.

The Guangzhou-based startup is also looking to expand into different types of vehicles including minibus.