UPDATED 21:12 EDT / JANUARY 25 2021

EMERGING TECH

Chinese autonomous driving startup Uisee raises $154M

Chinese autonomous driving startup Uisee Technology (Beijing) Co. Ltd. said today it has raised RMB 1 billion ($154 million) to strengthen its research and development into key technologies to realize “full-stack, fully unmanned, all-weather” driving solutions.

The round was led by the Chinese government-backed Guokai National Manufacturing Transformation and Upgrade Fund.

Founded in 2016, Uisee offers a variety of autonomous driving solutions with a particular focus on unnamed driving. The company offers solutions for taxis, autonomous buses, logistics and airport services. The company’s tech leverages artificial intelligence and big data to deliver autonomous driving solutions to deliver improved experience and safety.

Uisee’s technology is currently at level four autonomy, which means fully autonomous driving but a human driver can take control. Although the technology is applicable to self-driving cars, its website site in Chinese focuses on the application of the technology for unnamed logistics solutions.

The technology is said to be ideal for specific scenarios such as airports, ports and factories with the ability to deliver all-weather, full-featured unnamed logistics transportation that can autonomously plan the driving path throughout the process. The technology is said to realize obstacle avoidance and autonomous parking with a backup to “go to the security officer” without manual operation should it face any issues.

The company’s largest customer is Hong Kong International Airport, which uses Uisee technology for automated electric tractors, the carts that transport baggage between various points at the airport. According to Deal Street Asia, HKIA first started using Uisee’s tech with the world’s first AET in December 2019 before extending the service areas in October to run baggage from air-to-sea and sea-to-air passengers. The airport announced Jan. 17 that it intended to replace all traditional baggage tractors operated manually with AET’s by the end of the first quarter.

Uisee also has a partnership with SAIC Motor Corp. Ltd., one of China’s largest automotive manufacturers and the company that owns MG Motor UK Ltd.

A Chinese company doing autonomous vehicle technology in China may not always stand out, since there are plenty of Chinese companies doing. But Uisee’s investors are especially interesting.

Prior to the Chinese Communist Party taking a new stake in the company with this round, one of Uisee’s major investors was German firm Robert Bosch Gmbh, a company notable not only for its power tools but also for its industrial and mobility divisions — which include technology for cars.

Other investors in the company include Shenzen Group, Fujian Septwolves Industry Co., CICC Capital, CITIC Securities and the Xiamen Qipliang Energy Saving and Environmental Protection Fund.

Photo: Uisee

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