AutoX Receives Dongfeng Investment, Targets Chinese Market
AutoX is a California-based startup which focuses on the development of autonomous driving cars. The company recently closed its Series A3 funding round and received huge financial backing from China's state-owned car manufacturer Dongfeng.
Now with a major Chinese investor at its back, AutoX is working to promote its self-driving cars and related technologies toward the Chinese commercial vehicle sector. China is steadily growing to be one of the world's markets for cars in general, not just autonomous driving vehicles.
AutoX's latest funding was led by Chinese car manufacturer Dongfeng. People with insider information about the funding said that AutoX was able to raise "tens of millions" from the recent round.
The funding will be used for the mass production of advanced L4 autonomous driving cars. AutoX said that these cars will be developed in order to fit the demand of the Chinese car market.
This latest round of funding was preceded by an undisclosed round of financing by another state-owned car manufacturer SAIC Motors in September 2017. In a statement at that time, SAIC research director Liu Fen said, "AutoX, with its expertise in algorithms, provides us with a new way to explore artificial intelligence in the mobility sector."
AutoX was founded by Xiao Jianxiong in 2016. The founder was a former assistant professor at Princeton University. The main idea behind AutoX is to develop an advanced L4 autonomy technology. This means that the car is capable of navigation itself autonomously, except during extreme weather conditions.
In August 2018, a pilot program was launched in San Jose, California. The program was for AutoX's grocery delivery business which allows users to order fresh products from the platform's mobile application and receiving their order via self-driving cars.
Major financiers came shortly after AutoX finally established its research and development facility in Shenzhen, China in January. As of this writing, the company is testing its self-driving cars in Shenzhen's Nanshan district, the same location where Tencent headquarters and Baidu regional office are located.
Based on the promotional video released by AutoX, the company plans to build a Windows-style self-driving system. The company then plans to commercialize these driverless technologies through its partnership with a number of Chinese car manufacturers.
In terms of China's driverless car industry, tech giant Baidu is clearly in the lead. Baidu controls more than 90 percent of all autonomous cars being tested on various Chinese roads. Baidu is also building alliances with more than 135 OEMs in building its open platform Apollo.