It’s been a big week for China’s autonomous vehicle industry, from funding announcements to new production facilities. Here’s a roundup of four announcements this week.
Trunk.Tech brings in over $30 million in funding
Trunk.Tech has been working on L4 autonomous driving technology since its founding in 2017. The company’s goal, according to CEO Tianlei Zhang, is to produce and operate autonomous trucks on a large scale within the next five years.
The company’s lineup of products includes the Trunk Highway, Trunk Port and Trunk Cloud. The Trunk Highway is its L4 self-driving semi truck, and the Trunk Cloud is a cloud service platform that supports large-scale operation of autonomous trucks. The Trunk Port focuses on automating port hubs. It adds an automated terminal truck, which transports containers within a port.
Earlier this year, Trunk.Tech’s automated trucks and terminal trucks began test operations in Section C of the Beijiang Port Area of the Tianjin Port in China. The company initially deployed six autonomous trucks at the port, and later 20 of its autonomous terminal trucks.
The round of funding comes from Yuexiu Industry Investment Fund, ZWC Partners and BHCP. Previous investors include RBVC, the venture capital division of Germany’s Bosch Group, and Iflytek.
Trunk.Tech’s autonomous terminal trucks can be seen at work in the video below.
AutoX builds dedicated production facility for AVs
AutoX gives the first look into its dedicated production facility for its L4 robotaxis. The facility opened in July 2021, the same month AutoX unveiled the Gen5 self-driving system.
The Gen5 system involves two main sensor towers that sit on top of the vehicle, and a suite of blind spot sensors. The vehicle’s computing unit, the AutoX XCU, sits under the trunk bed of the car and powers the autonomous driving software stack.
The facility’s production line was designed to build AutoX’s Gen5 system and robotaxis, and is the first dedicated facility of its kind in China, AutoX claimed. The factory is equipped with ABB robots as well as control and transmission systems from Siemens, Omron, Schneider Electric, Philips, SEW and Mitsubishi.
AutoX currently operates its autonomous robotaxi service across a 65 square mile area of Shenzhen, covering the entire Pingshan District.
Haomo.AI raises $157 million
Haomo.AI, a Chinese startup, brought in $157 million in funding. The funding comes from GL Ventures, Meituan and Qualcomm Ventures, among others. The company plans to use the funding to enhance R&D capabilities and expand its talent pool.
Formerly the intelligent driving department of Great Wall Motor, Haomo.AI is working on developing L4 autonomous driving technology, as well making L2 technology more accessible.
The company is looking to use its L4 autonomous vehicles to deliver groceries and other goods with partner companies, like Meituan. Meanwhile, Haomo.AI has set out to make its L2 driving system available in 34 vehicle models by the end of 2022. Currently, it’s available in Great Wall Motor models.
Plus and IVECO to start testing in China
“We have always been stressing that the application of automated driving technology must undergo extensive and sufficient tests to verify whether it can cope with different types of weather, terrain and driving scenarios,” Shawn Kerrigan, COO and co-founder of Plus, said. “This test project will comprehensively promote the acceleration of the mass production of automated driving heavy-duty truck.”
In April 2021, the two announced that IVECO’s S-WAY trucks would be equipped with Plus’ L4 self-driving system. The companies plan to test the integration of the two, and how well the system can cope with different road conditions and driving scenarios.
In 2019, Plus established a joint venture with FAW, a Chinese automotive manufacturer, to develop autonomous trucks for China. In 2020, it released its first commercial pilot in China.