Chinese Autonomous Driving Startup Momenta Raises Another $200 Million, Raising its 2021 Funding Total to Over $1 Billion
【Summary】Chinese autonomous driving technology developer Momenta, has closed on its latest $500 million funding that was first announced in September. The round includes new investments of $200 million from Chinese automaker SAIC Motor Corp and Yunfeng Capital, founded by Alibaba Group co-founder and billionaire Jack Ma.
Chinese autonomous driving technology developer Momenta, has closed on its latest $500 million funding that was first announced in September. The round includes new investments of $200 million from Chinese automaker SAIC Motor Corp and Yunfeng Capital, founded by Alibaba Group co-founder and billionaire Jack Ma.
The latest round includes a $300 Million investment from automaker General Motors announced in September.
With its latest round, Momenta's total funding reached $1 billion in just 8 months, after a previous $500 million funding round in March. Its the biggest investment in any autonomous driving startup in China, according to Chinese news outlet Gasgoo.
In September, General Motors announced it was investing in Momenta to accelerate the development of next-generation self-driving technologies for future GM vehicles sold in China.
Other investors in Momenta include Toyota Motor Corp, Bosch, Mercedes-Benz, IDG Capital and Tencent.
In 2020, Toyota partnered with Momenta to develop a high definition (HD) mapping platform in China for autonomous driving vehicles.
Momenta said the funding will be used for The fundings will be put towards accelerating applications of the company's autonomous driving solutions, said Cao Xudong, CEO of Momenta.
As reported by Gasgoo, Momenta's CFO, Zhang Peng, told a local media outlet that the recognition from the major automakers that invested in the company is far more valuable than the actual dollar amount of the investment. Momenta views the investment from the automakers as a vote of confidence and trust in the company's advanced autonomous driving technology.
Momenta was founded in 2016 and is based in Beijing. The company also has an office in Stuttgart, Germany. Momenta bills itself as a tier 2 software provider developing solutions for Tier 1 suppliers and OEMs allowing them to add robust autonomous capabilities to their production models.
Momenta takes a data-driven approach in improving its self-driving technology. Compared with human-driven algorithms, data-driven algorithms are scalable and can autonomously solve rare scenarios, and achieve faster iteration at low-cost, according to Momenta.
The company's cost-efficient process can filter and label massive amounts of driving data and deploy its algorithms to more driving scenarios, allowing them to become smarter, which in turn improves the performance of Momenta's autonomous technology.
Momenta calls the data collection process "Flywheel" L4.
The process generates more real-world data that Momenta can use to further refine its algorithms. The algorithm modules include perception, fusion, prediction and planning and motion control.
"Our data-driven automation flywheel requires massive data input, generated by hundreds-of-billions of kilometers of driving," said Cao to Bloomberg. "There's no way for us to reach this goal by merely establishing our own fleet. We have to work with production cars."
The first production model outfitted with Momenta's automated driving technology will be SAIC's electric Zhiji L7 sedan. Deliveries of the new electric sedan could start as early as next year, according to Bloomberg.
Momenta was part of the "Nvidia Inception Program", an accelerator which provides deep-learning support for exceptional startups who are revolutionizing industries with advances in AI and data science. As part of the program, Nvidia provides its expertise and access to its powerful hardware technologies.
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