Alibaba leads $300 million funding of driverless car firm DeepRoute.ai


A Deeproute.ai robotaxi on show.

Deeproute.ai

GUANGZHOU, China — Alibaba has led investments price greater than $300 million into Chinese autonomous driving start-up DeepRoute.ai.

The Shenzhen-based start-up makes the self-driving techniques for autos that contain {hardware} and software program. DeepRoute.ai runs a fleet of autonomous taxis with some operated by its companions together with ride-hailing firm CaoCao and automaker Dongfeng Motors. But the corporate can be creating expertise for logistics.

Alibaba’s involvement within the funding spherical underscores the ambitions of China’s expertise giants to get a foothold within the space of driverless automobiles. Alibaba is already an investor in one other Chinese autonomous driving car start-up known as AutoX and is backing electrical car maker Xpeng.

Alibaba additionally has its personal logistics arm known as Cainiao which plans to develop self-driving trucks.

Maxwell Zhou, CEO of DeepRoute.ai, informed CNBC that “most of the money is being spent to develop the technology and the rest is scale up the fleet size” of its robotaxis. Money will even go towards hiring extra expertise, Zhou added.

The CEO mentioned the corporate at the moment operates round 70 robotaxis and needs to develop its fleet to between 150 to 160. Half of the robotaxis will likely be operated by DeepRoute.ai, whereas the opposite half will likely be run by its companions, Zhou mentioned.

In a press launch, the corporate mentioned its long-term technique contains creating medium-duty vehicles for city logistics, bettering transit for shipments in addition to freight supply.

Zhou declined to touch upon any particular tasks with Alibaba, however mentioned “every opportunity is possible.”

There are a number of sources of income for DeepRoute.ai. It can cost passengers for its robotaxi service or income share with a ride-hailing firm. Or it could additionally promote its autonomous driving system to automakers in return for a one-time price in addition to an annual service price.

In the logistics house, DeepRoute.ai may run an autonomous driving fleet for an organization or once more, promote its driverless expertise.

China’s autonomous driving trade is getting very aggressive.

Chinese web big Baidu and ride-hailing app Didi are investing in autonomous driving. A slew of different start-ups in China together with Pony.ai and WeRide are additionally placing cash into that house. Last week, WeRide launched a brand new product known as Robovan designed for city logistics, an space that Deeproute.ai can be exploring.

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