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Chinese autonomous driving startup raises $157 million from Hillhouse, Meituan

By Reuters

SHANGHAI – Haomo.AI, a Chinese autonomous driving startup controlled by Great Wall Motor’s Chairman Wei Jianjun, has raised nearly 1 billion yuan ($157 million) in a funding round as investors increase bets on smart car technologies.

Haomo will use the funds raised from investors – such as Hillhouse Capital’s early-stage investment unit GL Ventures, Meituan, Qualcomm Ventures and others – to build its talent pool and enhance its R&D capability, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

The company did not provide details on valuation.

Automakers and technology firms are investing billions of dollars in autonomous driving, aiming to take an early lead in what many consider the future of mobility.

General Motors Co announced in September that it would invest $300 million in Chinese autonomous driving startup Momenta to develop self-driving technologies for future models in China, its first such tie-up in the world’s No.1 car market.

Other global automakers also have tie-ups with Chinese firms in the nascent technology. Toyota Motor is testing vehicles with, Nissan Motor works with WeRide, while Honda Motor has teamed up with AutoX.

Haomo, formerly known as the intelligent driving department of Great Wall Motor, said it expected to make its Level 2 semi-autonomous driving system, which requires supervision by a human driver, available in 34 vehicle models by the end of 2022.

The system is currently available in five Great Wall Motor vehicle models.

Haomo also produces Level 4 autonomous driving logistics vehicles that can handle all aspects of driving in most circumstances with no human intervention to deliver groceries and parcels with partners including Meituan.

($1 = 6.3716 Chinese yuan)