Alliance Ventures, the venture capital arm of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, has led an undisclosed Series A round in WeRide.ai, an autonomous driving company. This is Alliance’s first investment in a Chinese startup.
WeRide.ai was previously funded by Qiming Venture Capital, Hanfor Capital, Atop Capital, Johnson Electric, Xiaopeng He, Idinvest Partners, and OceanIQ Capital.
According to an official statement, WeRide.ai plans to use the proceeds to deploy a fleet of 500 autonomous vehicles in 2019. It also plans to accumulate 5 million km of autonomous driving mileage, and conduct operation and commercialisation trials with partners in Guangzhou and Anqing.
Since launching its trial operations in China, WeRide.ai’s autonomous vehicles have clocked a total mileage of over 60,000 km and served more than 3,000 passengers worldwide.
In January, Alliance Ventures announced plans to invest up to $1 billion over five years to help Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi keep up with massive changes in the automotive industry. The VC will invest in areas such as vehicle electrification, autonomous systems and artificial intelligence.
Alliance Ventures has made five investments so far. They are: US-based battery material company, Ionic Materials; French-based microprocessor firm, Kalray; Silicon Valley-based, used car marketplace Shift; Israel-based car technology fund, Maniv Mobility; and China’s Sinovation Ventures.