There is no shortage of state funding for smart driving start-ups in China, as the country advances its goal of becoming a world leader in artificial intelligence in a decade. The latest to receive a financial boost is Uisee, a Beijing-based company founded by a group of technology veterans including former head of Intel China Laboratories, Wu Ganesha.
Uisee announced on Monday that it has closed a northern round of billion yuan ($ 150 million) from investors, including the National Fund for Industry Change and Upgrade, a $ 21 billion state-funded fund set up in 2019 to promote and upgrade China’s value chain with the Ministry of Finance As the largest shareholder.
The five-year-old Uisee is the first autonomous driving company the foundation has supported, according to the announcement, and the ministry is expected to help drive the areas of public transportation and logistics and become an autonomous “marker” driving enterprise. Said a director from the fund in a statement.
Unlike Chinese Mobileye or Momenta, which sell advanced driving assistance systems as they invest in the development of more advanced Level 4 driving, Uisee is launching ADAS and focusing on unmanned driving, founder and CEO Wu Wansha said in an earlier interview.
Uisee provides technology for cases ranging from robotaxes and city buses to airports and logistics centers. It has secured a handful of large customers, including Hong Kong International Airport, which uses Uisee’s solutions to automate its baggage tractors, alongside state-owned automakers FAW Group, Dongfeng Motor and more.
The new financial injection, which also counts a number of “industrial investors” that have not been delivered, will allow Uise to step up research and development and promote the industry’s extensive monetization. The company claims that the joint venture between SAIC Motor, General Motors and Liuzhou Wuling Motors used its technology to enable 300,000 miles of vehicle operation without safety drivers within a logistics center.
Existing investors include German electronics giant Bosch, which participated in Uisee’s Series B round last year, alongside the Shenzhen government-backed Shenzhen Group and state-backed CCI investments.
Several other Chinese startups have received significant funding in recent months to accelerate their smart driving solutions like WeRide, which closed out the $ 310 million Series B in early 2021; Chipmaker Horizon Robotics, which landed $ 150 million in December; Pony.ai, which grossed $ 267 million in November; And the Didi Riding Pool platform that raised $ 500 million last May for its new entity dedicated to autonomous driving.