Self-driving car startup Pony.ai raises $112m led by Legend Capital, Morningside

Pony.ai
Pony.ai's self-driving car

Autonomous driving technology firm Pony.ai, a startup co-located in Silicon Valley and in China’s Guangzhou, announced that it has raised $112 million in series A funding round co-led by Morningside Venture Capital and Legend Capital.

Sequoia Capital China and investor IDG Capital also participated in the round, along with Hongtai Capital, Legend Star, Puhua Capital, Polaris Capital, DCM Ventures, Comcast Ventures and Silicon Valley Future Capital, Pony.ai said in a statement.

The privately held company is building a level 4 autonomous driving technology that allows vehicles to perform all driving functions for an entire trip in both suburban and urban environments as well as inclement weather conditions.

The company’s fully self-developed software algorithms enable a vehicle to accurately perceive its surroundings, predict what others will do, and maneuver itself accordingly.

Founded in late 2016, Pony.ai is headed by co-founder and CEO James Peng, who was previously chief architect at Baidu, where he oversaw the technical direction of the autonomous driving division.

“Autonomous driving has the potential to bring about massive benefits to society, and we hope to work closely with our outstanding investors to realize this future,” Peng said.

Pony.ai established its second headquarter office in the Southern Chinese city of Guangzhou last October and began testing its fleet of autonomous driving vehicles on public roads this past December.

“The company plans to use this round of funding to continue working towards its mission of building the safest and most reliable self-driving technology,” it said.

It will also continue to build key partnerships in both the US and China, and to rapidly grow its team in both geographies.

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