Alibaba invests in self-driving technology developer DeepRoute

Industry

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group and four domestic venture capital firms have jointly invested more than $300 million in DeepRoute, an autonomous driving technology developer based in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.

DeepRoute said this week it will tap the investment to expand its team, ramp up R&D, and scale up collaboration with automakers and fleets.

The company didn’t disclose the size of Alibaba’s investment. The four venture capital firms are Jeneration Capital, Fosun RZ Capital, Yunqi Partners and Glory Ventures.

Established in 2019, DeepRoute aims to develop Level 4 autonomous driving robotaxis and medium-duty trucks for freight delivery in urban areas. 

The startup has launched trial robotaxis in three domestic cities – Shenzhen, Wuhan and Hangzhou. 

The robotaxis were adapted from cars purchased by DeepRoute itself as well as vehicles supplied by domestic automakers such as Dongfeng Motor Group and Geely Automobile Holdings.

In June, DeepRoute received a permit from the California Public Utilities Commission to test its robotaxis locally.

DeepRoute is the second autonomous driving technology company that has won the financial backing of Alibaba, following AutoX.

AutoX, incorporated in Shenzhen in 2016, now tests its robotaxis in Shenzhen, Beijing and Shanghai, as well as California’s Silicon Valley. 

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