Chinese self-driving tech startup Roadstar.ai raises industry record funding of $128m

Photo from Roadstar.ai's website

Roadstar.ai, a Shenzhen-based AI-powered self-driving technology startup founded by former Google and Tesla engineers, announced that it has raised $128 million in Series A funding round, the biggest-ever investment made into a Chinese startup in the country’s autonomous driving industry.

In a statement posted on its website, Roadstar.ai said the latest funding round was co-led by venture capital firm Shenzhen Capital Group and Wu Capital, a family office in Mainland China.

CMB International Capital, Vision Capital and early investors Glory Ventures, Shenzhen Green Pine Capital, Ventech, and Yunqi Partners also participated in the round.

Roadstar.ai’s latest funding amount exceeds that of Pony.ai, another self-driving car startup, which pocketed $112 million in its Series A round led by two venture firms, Morningside Venture Capital and Legend Capital.

Roadstar.ai, founded in 2017 by three engineers who had previously led autonomous driving technologies at Google, Tesla, Apple, Nvidia, and Baidu USA, said the new investment will be used to expand its autonomous-vehicle fleet and improve security and data collection technology.

The startup has developed two key technologies – HeteroSync and DeepFusion. It claims that HeteroSync provides accurate time and spatial synchronisation, real-time update, and robust data-based features. DeepFusion, meanwhile, produces robust, efficient, and safe autonomous driving solution.

Last January, Roadstar.ai showcased its prototype autonomous vehicle, powered by its self-driving technologies, at the CES trade show in Las Vegas.

“We focus on providing efficient autonomous driving solutions to future advanced transportation system using unique and robust multi-sensor fusion framework… for safer and more enjoyable travel experience,” the company said on its website.

Another startup in the self-driving space, JingChi, is also preparing its own Series A funding round.

JingChi was founded in April 2017 and has completed autonomous driving tests in a closed venue in less than five weeks.

In June last year, it became the 34th company to obtain a license for testing autonomous vehicles and completed its first autonomous mode testing on public roads in California.

Last month, China laid out national guidelines for testing self-driving cars as part of efforts to keep pace with the US in the bid to become the global leader in autonomous driving technology.

Among others, the Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and Ministry of Communications, said testing self-driving cars should be first made in non-public zones and that a driver must always sit in the driver’s position to take over control when needed.

A Bloomberg report in March said China is aspiring to deploy 30 million autonomous vehicles within a decade.

Also Read:

Self-driving car startup Pony.ai raises $112m led by Legend Capital, Morningside

China self-drive startup JingChi closes $52m pre-series A led by Qiming Venture