Shenzhen-based autonomous driving startup DeepRoute.ai has raised USD 300 million in a Series B funding round led by Alibaba Group and other venture capital firms, including Jeneration Capital and a fund under Geely Auto Group. Previous investors Fosun RZ Capital, Yunqi Partners, and Glory Ventures also participated in the round.
The company will use the fresh capital to bolster its R&D, onboard new team members, and scale up collaborations with automakers, urban logistics providers, and mobility operators.
Founded in 2019, DeepRoute.ai provides L4 autonomous driving solutions—where human intervention is unnecessary in predefined, geofenced areas—for carmakers and mobility service companies. It has cooperated with Dongfeng Motor and Geely Automobile to jointly develop robotaxis.
DeepRoute.ai’s long-term strategy includes developing medium-duty trucks for urban logistics to improve transit for shipments and freight delivery. It also aims to expand its robotaxi fleet to approximately 100 vehicles by the end of 2021 to meet strong demand for autonomous transportation and affordable ride-hailing services, the company said.
The Shenzhen-based autonomous driving company has been testing self-driving vehicles on public roads in Wuhan and Shenzhen, having safely covered more than 1.2 million miles so far. Its mobility service has over 100 pick-up and drop-off points in Shenzhen’s Futian business district. DeepRoute.ai’s robotaxis also transported COVID-19 test samples to local hospitals as a demonstration of a non-passenger use case this year.
The company has received a Passenger Carry Permit from the California Public Utilities Commission and preparations to offer robotaxi services in California later this year are underway.
DeepRoute.ai expects its mobility services, including medium-duty trucks and robotaxis, to provide sustainable and profitable revenues for the company.
“Our DeepRoute.ai team is excited to bring more robotaxis to the streets and expand to urban logistics,” said Maxwell Zhou, CEO of DeepRoute.ai. “We are excited for the future of autonomous vehicles and the positive societal impact we will have.”
DeepRoute.ai will continue to establish and maintain partnerships with major automakers to roll out robotaxi fleet services. Last year, the company linked up with ride-hailing platform Caocao Mobility to deploy a robotaxi fleet with hundreds of vehicles in Hangzhou.