WeRide raises $200 mn from Yutong, to develop self-driving bus

WeRide, a Chinese startup developing autonomous vehicles, has raised $200 million from bus maker Yutong Group. The two companies would develop self-driving buses together, Reuters reported.
WeRide IT investmentWeRide, which is testing self-driving passenger vehicles in California and China’s southern city of Guangzhou, did not disclose its valuation.

WeRide said in a statement it would develop autonomous minibuses, city buses and other commercial vehicles with Yutong.

The move comes as autonomous driving companies are expanding their product lineups.

Guangzhou-based WeRide, which is also backed by the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance, said it had developed a self-driving minibus with Yutong, which does not have a steering wheel.

The bus is bigger than Zoox’s recently-launched 4-seat vehicle, which also does not have a steering wheel. WeRide’s model can carry ten people and run at up to 40 kilometers per hour on open roads.

Tony Han, chief executive of the three-year-old startup, told Reuters earlier this year the company was looking to expand into different types of vehicles, including trucks.

WeRide is pursuing a level 4 autonomous standard, in which the vehicle can handle all aspects of driving in most circumstances with no human intervention.

Automakers and technology firms are investing billions of dollars in autonomous driving, aiming to take an early lead in what many consider the future of road transport. However, some industry insiders say it will take time for the public to trust autonomous vehicles fully.