A fleet of WeRide robot axles is shown. The company has been testing its robot axis in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou since 2019.

We drive

GUANGZHOU, China – WeRide autonomous driving company raised new funds to value the company at $ 3.3 billion.

The Nissan-backed startup did not disclose the amount it raised, but said it was “hundreds of millions” of dollars from venture capital investors such as IDG Capital and Sky9 Capital. A number of other supporters and existing investors attended the round.

Tony Han, CEO of WeRide, said in a statement that the new funds will be used for research and development as well as commercialization “with the aim of ensuring comprehensive autonomous mobility in the future.”

WeRide is one of the many China-based companies aggressively pushing to be a global leader in autonomous driving.

In 2019, a Robotaxi project was opened in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, where the headquarters are located. The public has been able to use the service in a specific area of ​​the city since last year.

In April, WeRide received approval from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to conduct driverless tests on public roads in San Jose.

The company competes with other startups like Pony.ai, which raised $ 267 million in November, and AutoX. Larger tech companies, including internet giant Baidu and hail-fighting company Didi, are also exploring the space.

WeRide’s final round of funding is based on an injection of $ 310 million in January.

WeRide’s CEO previously told CNBC that he predicts that large-scale application of robotaxis will occur between 2023 and 2025. He said WeRide will start making money from the business from 2025.

The company doesn’t make cars. Instead, the autonomous drive systems are sold to other car manufacturers.