2020 is a very special year for mankind, and it is also a year for the automobile industry. At the end of each year, AutoR will launch a year-end special series. After the launch of “Tesla’s Magic 2020” and “Top Ten Phenomenal New Cars in 2020” on December 28, today we take stock of the financing in the field of autonomous driving in 2020. , landing and the latest progress. This year is a very dreamy year for autonomous driving. Higher financing amounts and higher valuations have made the capital market crazy. On the other hand, commercial landings and completely unmanned autonomous vehicles have begun to enter the public. vision.
In 2020, autonomous driving is getting closer and closer to life.
As an ordinary user in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Changsha and other cities, you can use your mobile phone to call a self-driving car with an overhead lidar at any time.
Near communities, campuses, and companies, self-driving logistics vehicles are making last-mile deliveries.
In airports and parks, unmanned logistics vehicles achieve 7*24 all-weather, full-process, and unmanned operations.
At the same time, strong capital is driving the autonomous driving industry to make strides.
According to incomplete statistics, in the past year, there have been nearly 30 financing events for autonomous driving companies, with a total amount of RMB 100 billion, and the valuation of Baidu Apollo is as high as 10 billion.
Under the influence of the epidemic, autonomous driving has further accelerated. From low-speed autonomous driving to solve the last mile of Robotaxi for mass travel, from mass-produced automotive intelligent solutions to software and hardware platforms, these concepts that were once hung on PPT have entered the public. Vision and new changes for travel.
The words financing, unmanned and commercial landing have gone through a whole year around 2020.
This is a good beginning.
More than 30 financing companies, with record valuations hitting new highs
Self-driving financing in 2020 is crazy.
From February to December, more than 30 autonomous driving companies have completed financing. Waymo’s first round of financing of US$2.25 billion broke the industry record. Pony announced three financings a year, becoming the financing king of Chinese autonomous driving companies. the throne.
Behind the favorable domestic financing is the support of policies and demand. As the world’s largest single automobile market, China is expected to become a major autonomous vehicle market in the future.
According to a previous survey by the world-renowned management consulting firm McKinsey, 49% of Chinese consumers believe that fully automated driving is very important, compared with only 16% of consumers in Germany and the United States who believe that fully automated driving is “very important”.
Because of this, McKinsey believes that China is likely to become the world’s largest autonomous driving market in the future. It is estimated that by 2030, the revenue of new car sales and travel services related to autonomous driving will exceed 500 billion US dollars.
The following is the financing situation of some self-driving companies:
On February 26, Pony.ai, a Chinese autonomous driving startup, announced the completion of a new round of financing, totaling $462 million, at a valuation of just over $3 billion.
On the same day, UISEE announced that it had obtained strategic investment from Bosch, CICC, Shenzhen Venture Capital, etc. This time UISEE received strategic investment from Bosch, reflecting the industry’s interest in UISEE’s driverless technology and its successful investment in large-scale technology. High recognition of business operations.
On March 2, Waymo, a leading self-driving technology company, announced that it had received a total of $2.25 billion in financing. As a self-driving laboratory independent from Google, Waymo has received external investment for the first time in the four years since its spin-off.
On March 4, White Rhino announced that it had received additional investment from Chentao Capital. The financing amount was not disclosed. The financing was mainly used for product development and landing operations.
On March 5, Huituo announced the completion of the A2 round of financing of over 100 million yuan, led by Cathay Capital’s Auto Fund, Shandong Haichuang Qianfeng’s new and old kinetic energy conversion parent fund, old shareholders Fanghe Capital and Hanergy Ventures The follow-up investment and financing are mainly used for the productization, platformization and systematization of the overall solution for unmanned mines, to promote the implementation of the unmanned solution for “coal underground mines”, and to promote the mass production and delivery of unmanned mine equipment.
On March 11, the unmanned delivery start-up Neolithic recently completed an A+ round of financing with a financing scale of nearly 200 million yuan. This round of financing was led by Li Xiang’s ideal car. In addition, new investor Yida Capital joined. Shareholders Yunqi Capital and Yaotu Capital made additional investment.
On April 29, Inceptio announced that it has completed equity financing of US$100 million. By the end of 2021, Inceptio will deliver L3 autonomous trucks in batches with Chinese OEMs and provide customers with a nationwide autonomous truck service network.
On May 12, “Magic Intelligence”, an embedded artificial intelligence autonomous driving company, announced the completion of a RMB 100 million A2 round of financing. Investors include Shengshi Jinhao, Whale Capital and Boxin Fund. This round of financing will be used to develop core technologies and products for autonomous driving, consolidate core customer and market partnerships, promote mass production, and develop more markets and customers.
On May 13, Waymo CEO John Krafcik announced that Waymo’s first round of financing of $2.25 billion, which was officially announced on March 2, has once again received additional investment from new investors. The cumulative financing amount in this round is $3 billion.
On May 29, Didi Chuxing announced that its autonomous driving company had completed its first round of financing of over US$500 million. This round of investment was led by the SoftBank Vision Fund Phase 2, which is currently the largest single financing obtained by a domestic autonomous driving company.
On July 2, “Zhixing Technology” announced the completion of the B1 round of financing, led by CCB Suzhou Science and Technology Fund, followed by Heyu No.1, and the original shareholders of Ideal Auto, Mingshi Capital, and China National Venture Capital continued to follow. This financing is mainly used to expand the mass production scale of L2 autonomous driving and promote the mass production of L2+ autonomous driving.
On August 20, the intelligent driving vehicle technology developer “Xidi Zhijia” announced the completion of an A++ round of equity financing of over 100 million yuan, led by Liangjiang Fund, Sanze Venture Capital, Nanjing North Road and other financial and strategic investors, and Investors such as old shareholders Fangzheng Hesheng followed suit.
On August 27, Heduo Technology announced that it had obtained A+ round of financing, which was jointly led by Yuanxing Yuhan Fund and Chaos Investment, and the old shareholders of Heduo IDG and NavInfo joined the investment. The financing amount was not disclosed.
According to news on September 14, the autonomous driving company Zhixing announced today that it has received hundreds of millions of C+ rounds of financing. The investors are Xinding Capital, Huaxia Weiming Capital and other investment institutions.
The Wise Walker opens the road to RoboTaxi.
On September 17, American company Seegrid announced the successful financing of $52 million. The company mainly develops self-driving cars for processing materials in factories and warehouses.
On October 27, Pony.ai once again announced the completion of a new round of financing. The post-investment valuation was US$6 billion and the financing amount exceeded US$300 million. The investment was led by the Ontario Pension Fund of Canada with an investment of nearly US$200 million. FAW Group also Invested in this round.
On October 28, MINIEYE, a developer of autonomous driving perception technology, announced that it has completed 270 million yuan in Series C financing. Investors include Harvest Investments, Dongfang Fuhai, Yuanjing Capital, as well as industrial investors such as NavInfo and Huaqin Communications.
On October 12, Qingzhou Zhihang announced that it had obtained a new round of investment from Lenovo Venture Capital, and Wanshi Capital served as the exclusive financial advisor for this round of financing. The new round of financing is mainly used for three aspects: accelerating the commercialization of Robo-Bus in many domestic cities, iterative research and development of the driverless solution “Driven-by-QCraft”, and promoting the implementation of the solution in other smart city scenarios.
On November 9, Nuro, an American autonomous driving startup, successfully raised $500 million in a Series C round of financing. The latest round of financing was led by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., including Fidelity Management & Research Company, LLC, Baillie Gifford, and veterans. Shareholders SoftBank and Greylock followed suit.
On November 6th, Pony.ai announced its third financing this year. It received US$267 million in Series C financing led by the science and technology innovation investment platform of Ontario Teachers’ Retirement Fund, Canada. Pony.ai’s total financing amount after this round of investment Over $1 billion, with a post-money valuation of over $5.3 billion.
On November 9, after half a year, Inceptio, an autonomous truck technology and operation company, completed a new round of equity financing of US$120 million. This round of financing was led by Ningde Times, a lithium-ion battery R&D and manufacturing company, and all original shareholders such as GLP, G7, and NIO Capital joined the investment.
On October 28, Outrider, a self-driving logistics startup, announced that it has completed a $65 million round of financing led by Koch Disruptive Technologies, which will use the funds raised to speed up the pace of listing and expand the number of employees to more than 110. people, expanding the Fortune 500 customer base.
On October 30, Chase Technology announced the completion of tens of millions of yuan in Pre-A round of financing. The investor is composed of the lead investor Yunqi Capital, and the investors BAIC Production Investment, Zhangjiang Science and Technology Investment, and Zhongnan Venture Capital. The funds raised will focus on It is used to strengthen technology research and development, improve core technology, and promote industrialization.
On December 23, WeRide announced the completion of its B1 round of financing. Yutong Group made a strategic investment of US$200 million, making it the largest single investment by a Chinese OEM in the field of autonomous driving so far.
Entering Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, Robotaxi has become a “darling”
Five years ago, autonomous driving practitioners had a consistent prediction: 2020 will become an inflection point for the explosion of autonomous driving, and autonomous driving will eventually become reality.
The time has come, and the autonomous driving industry has ushered in an easy-to-implement and attractive product: Robotaxi, which has entered the daily travel of the public.
In China, companies involved in Robotaxi include Baidu, Didi, Weyuan, AutoX, Yuanrong, Zhixingzhi, Momenta, UISEE, Volkswagen, etc.
And this is just the beginning.
With favorable policies, technology and capital, more autonomous driving companies will join the Robotaxi camp next year.
Baidu Apollo, which operated Robotaxi earlier, released a report showing that it has completed 210,000 self-driving manned travel services. Among them, the daily order peak in a single city reached 2,703, and the overall user satisfaction exceeded 95%. The test city covers 27, and it is safe to There are 620 docking stations and 7 million autonomous driving test mileage.
WeRide and the Transportation Research Institute of Tsinghua University jointly released the Robotaxi passenger survey report, showing that WeRide Robotaxi has accumulated nearly 30% of its loyal users, who take WeRide’s self-driving taxis at least once a week, and 37% of the passengers surveyed Said that you can take a fully driverless Robotaxi now.
On the other hand, Waymo’s first report on self-driving car operations in Phoenix, Arizona, noted that during 2019 and the first nine months of 2020, there were 18 crashes and 29 crashes involving Waymo self-driving cars. Near miss.
Surprises and accidents go hand in hand.
On April 19, Baidu’s unmanned vehicles officially landed on national-level applications, and China Robotaxi entered a new stage of large-scale operation.
In the corresponding area of Changsha City, citizens can call the available Robotaxi in real-time on Baidu Maps or Baidu APP smart applet without going through screening, training and other processes, and without installing a special taxi application.
Compared with the previous seed user stage, the Robotaxi taxi-hailing process opened this time is more convenient, covers more travel scenarios, and has more free time for car-hailing.
On June 23, AutoNavi officially launched the fully open Robotaxi operation service.
In addition to using the WeRide Go App, passengers in Guangzhou can also call WeRide Robotaxi with one click through AutoNavi. There is no need to submit an application or review qualifications. The first month of rides is free. The process is the same as that of general online car-hailing.
On June 27, Didi’s self-driving taxis started trial operation in Shanghai. CCTV News conducted a live broadcast of the experience. You only need to use the Didi car-hailing platform to book a car in a specific area. The unmanned vehicle will go to the designated area.
On August 19, Shenzhen Yuanrong Qixing Technology Co., Ltd. and Cao Cao Travel jointly announced that the two parties are cooperating in the test operation of autonomous vehicles, with the goal of providing autonomous driving travel services during the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games. The cooperation between the two parties is based on Geely’s A self-driving car built from the high-end pure electric model Geometry A.
On September 10, WeRide’s self-driving car challenged the urban village. There are many cars in the urban village, and the direction of travel changes at any time, posing a great challenge to the prediction algorithm of automatic driving.
WeRide ONE’s response approach is to embrace the uncertainty of forecasting.
WeRide has strengthened the machine learning model in the prediction algorithm. The machine learning model is based on big data to extract the characteristics of obstacles and repeat the model training to improve the algorithm and improve the prediction accuracy.
WeRide Zhixing solves the problem of realizing autonomous driving in urban villages. It can not only provide travel services in a safer, more comfortable and stable manner in urban open roads, but also help to remove safety guards and achieve the goal of fully driverless operation services more quickly. .
On October 19, UISEE and Dongfeng Motor officially signed a contract to launch the autonomous driving pilot project. The Dongfeng autonomous driving pilot project plans to establish the largest autonomous driving demonstration operation fleet and autonomous driving operation demonstration in Wuhan with the largest number of vehicles and the most abundant scenarios in the country. The autonomous driving pilot project has a total investment of 600 million yuan and will build the largest autonomous driving fleet in the country. From 2020 to 2022, no less than 200 autonomous vehicles will be gradually launched.
On October 22, Momenta officially released its self-driving taxi product, Momenta GO, which is also the first Robotaxi in Jiangsu Province.
Momenta GO combines the company’s self-developed L4 level unmanned driving technology MSD (Momenta Self Driving), and the hardware sensor is equipped with 12 cameras, 5 millimeter-wave radars and 1 lidar. Momenta GO can not only sense the near-end vehicle cycle The environment can also communicate with traffic lights, realize “God’s perspective” holographic perception at intersections that breaks through the limitations of human vision, and perceive traffic conditions outside several intersections beyond the line of sight.
On December 11, Apollo GO officially entered the Shouqi car-hailing platform. Users can place an order on the Shouqi car-hailing platform to experience the Apollo GO autonomous driving service.
In addition to Robotaxi, the autonomous bus Robobus is also expanding rapidly.
A company that has to be mentioned in this field is Qingzhou Zhihang. On October 21 this year, Qingzhou Zhihang launched the country’s first public road unmanned bus in normal operation in Suzhou, opening a new era of domestic Robobus development.
On December 29, Qingzhou Zhihang launched normal operations in Shenzhen, and launched the first unmanned bus monthly card in China. The five systems, three centers and a set of tool chains of the human bus program.
In addition, WeRide announced that WeRide and Yutong Group will jointly promote the application of autonomous driving in microcirculation buses, buses and other commercial scenarios, jointly explore diversified intelligent travel methods, and promote the large-scale development of fully driverless vehicles. commercialization.
2021: Unmanned main theme
On December 4, the Beijing Autonomous Driving Test Management Joint Working Group issued the first batch of five unmanned road tests (first phase) notices to Baidu Apollo.
As Beijing allows test subjects to conduct unmanned autonomous driving tests on open roads for the first time, it is another important breakthrough in the development of autonomous driving in China.
Looking back on a year, there are several important time points for the complete unmanned driving of autonomous driving:
On September 15, Baidu and CCTV News broadcasted the “Intelligence of All Things – Baidu World 2020” conference live. Unmanned Robotaxi.
Different from the previous Baidu self-driving car, this unmanned car is truly unmanned. The simple understanding is that the main driver has removed the safety officer.
This unmanned vehicle is China’s first mass-produced L4 self-driving passenger car. It realizes autonomous driving software and hardware, production line mass production capacity, in-vehicle human-computer interaction, safety redundancy guarantee, and cloud fleet management. All-round upgrade and optimization.
The Apollo customized version of the OBU (on-board unit) is also installed in the front, which can perform L4-level vehicle-road collaborative perception driving with intelligent network-connected roadside equipment, realizing the close integration of smart cars and smart roads.
On December 3, AutoX officially announced China’s first fleet of RoboTaxi vehicles that are fully unmanned and have no remote control.
The AutoX fully unmanned vehicle has started road testing in China. During the whole test process, there is no one in the car, and there is no remote control throughout the whole process. It completely relies on its unmanned driving system “AutoX Driver” to drive.
On December 10, GM’s self-driving car company Cruise posted a video on its website of a fully driverless vehicle test in San Francisco.
This year, Cruise won a license from the California Department of Motor Vehicles in October, becoming the first company to test driverless cars on the streets of San Francisco without a safety officer.
Cruise is the fifth company to receive a driverless-testing license in California, with Waymo being the first, which received a license in late 2018 to test about 30 vehicles.
On December 15th, Silicon Valley self-driving company Zoox released online the first self-driving car for Robotaxi operations, a fully driverless, electrified vehicle designed for dense urban environments.
Designed and built in the USA, the Zoox is the only vehicle with two-way drive capability and four-wheel steering to maneuver and change direction in tight spaces without the need to back up.
Unmanned driving has become a must-have skill for top players in autonomous driving. Baidu and AutoX in China have completed the debut of completely unmanned vehicles. In the international market, five companies including Waymo, Nuro, Zoox, AutoX and Cruise have obtained California cars. Full automatic driving test license.
In 2021, more fully unmanned vehicles will enter the public eye. With the issuance of fully unmanned test licenses in Beijing, Changsha and other regions, more cities will join fully unmanned vehicle testing in the coming year.
At the same time, with the deployment of infrastructure and 5G networks at any time, the test of fully unmanned vehicles will be wider, more stable and safer.
At present, autonomous driving has moved from mature technology and business to mature regulations and overall operational structure. The industry’s goal of realizing autonomous driving is clear and firm.
On the other hand, in front of the vision of bringing self-driving cars to the door, it is also necessary to solve the research and development of AI chips and lidars and reduce costs; it takes time and relevant laws and regulations to improve the infrastructure of the Internet of Vehicles.
Autonomous driving is still a dream in 2021.