On May 15, autonomous driving start-up Roadstar.ai announced the completion of its $128 million (RMB 812 million) Series A financing. This round of financing was co-led by Wu Capital and Shenzhen Capital Group. Yunqi Partners, the angel round investor of Roadstar.ai, also followed up with the investment to continue its support for Roadstar.ai.
This looks to be the hirtheto biggest Series A fianncing in the autonomous driving industry. With it, Roadstar.ai will become the highest valued start-up in the autonomous driving sector in China, which also firmly establishes its leading position in the global autonomous driving industry.
Meanwhile, Roadstar.ai has also officially launched its first-generation autonomous driving product, the Aries, a Level 4 autonomous driving solution which is the first in the world to carry Chinese-made laser radars. Integrating Roadstar.ai’s two core technologies HeteroSync and DEEPFusion and delivering the best-ever performance and greater affordability, the Aries will drive Roadstar.ai into the fast lane of commercialized autonomous driving in China.
Mr. Ng Yipin, Founding Partner of Yunqi Partners, remarked, “Autonomous driving is a complex and huge systematic undertaking, with very high technological requirements. Roadstar.ai is the first target of investment for Yunqi Partners in the field of autonomous driving. Less than a year after its inception, Roadstar.ai has already completed tests of its autonomous driving vehicles on open urban roads during busy hours in China. This well attests to its tremendous technological strength. Yunqi Partners is optimistic about the quick putting into service of autonomous driving and will continue to invest in this field.”
At the time of its founding in May 2017, Roadstar.ai received an angel round financing of $10 million right from Yunqi Partners, Green Pine Capital Partners, VENTECH, Glory Ventures and Guibang Capital. In just one year, Roadstar.ai has set up research centers in the Silicon Valley and Shenzhen, attracting top engineers from all over the world. Meanwhile, it has also completed open road tests in both China and the United States.
The most powerful Level 4 team of autonomous driving in China
In May 2017, three young engineers from the Silicon Valley attracted the attention of Mr. Ng Yipin, Founding Partner of Yunqi Partners. “Though Google and Apple started early in the autonomous driving field, much remains unclear about the commercial use of autonomous driving today. Nevertheless, there is huge room for the development of autonomous driving technology. Yunqi Partners believes that start-up companies still have opportunities. After seeing the multi-sensor fusion solution from Roadstar.ai, we exchanged in-depth views with its team. We further learned that Roadstar.ai’s founding team had accumulated rich engineering experience in the cutting-edge autonomous driving industry and that its three founders were once in charge of core business research and development at Google, Apple, Tesla, Nvidia, and Baidu,” said Yipin. Mr. Ng Yipin quickly decided to invest in the company after talking with the three young members of Roadstar.ai.
These three young men were Roadstar.ai’s co-founders – Tong Xianqiao (CEO), Heng Liang (CTO), and Zhou Guang (Chief Science Expert). The autonomous driving team which they led was hailed by the media as “the most powerful technological team” in the field. With their practical working experience in the world’s top-class autonomous driving companies, they set up Roadstar.ai, aspiring to change people’s future travel with the most advanced technologies.
In the ensuing year, this young team made great headways: In June 2017, R&D teams were basically set up in both the Silicon Valley and Shenzhen; in July, Roadstar.ai’s two core technologies – Heterocycle and DeepFusion, passed algorithm verification; in September, the first open road test was completed in Silicon Valley; in November, night open road test videos were released; in January 2018, on a rainy day, night and peak hour road test results were released, while the first open road test in China was completed during the same period.
One year after its founding, Roadstar.ai has already brought home several world-class technology laurels: On CityScape, the industry’s most effective vision algorithm performance evaluation dataset for the semantic understanding of urban scenes, Roadstar.ai has earned the well-deserved No.1 ranking in the world.
This start-up team of Roadstar.ai, hailed by the media as “the most powerful Level 4 team of autonomous driving in China”, is using technology to connect China with the world and the future through autonomous driving.
Roadstar.ai’s Ultimate Dream Realized: Aries
While announcing its financing news, Roadstar.ai also released the Aries, the world’s first Level 4 autonomous driving solution equipped with Chinese-made laser radars.
“After one year of technology iterations, this is our second-generation sensor fusion platform. The biggest feature of this autonomous driving product is its cost controllability. Compared with the previous generation multi-sensor fusion solution, it has an absolute price advantage. We have given Roadstar’s new-generation product the Chinese name of ‘Sharp’ to describe its core technology and value,” said CEO Tong Xianqiao.
According to CTO Heng Liang, another major feature of this product is that it can make rational decisions in the highly complex urban environment and integrate the “humanoid strategies” of manned driving society. It can also achieve high-precision driving control, bringing the maximum error down to 5cm on any cured road surface and at any speed
Drawing up these two core technologies, the Aries has completed road tests in California, USA and China in the day and night, heavy rain and rainy night environments in the past year. Its 90-minute human intervention-free driving function can fully achieve autonomous driving without manual intervention on trunk roads with busy traffic. In right cornering at a red light, unprotected left cornering, U-turning, lane change and other complex situations, it can drive at a maximum speed at the 60mph speed limit. Roadstar.ai has shown solid technological strength in making rational decisions in the highly complex urban environment and integrating the “humanoid strategies” of manned driving society. In California, it has achieved one human intervention per month on average. In highly complex urban road conditions in China, it has realized hours of driving without human takeover.
All those who truly know and have experienced Roadstar.ai’s autonomous driving technology greatly marvel at it.
“Roadstar.ai’s technology has reached a considerable degree of perfection. It is the best autonomous driving car we have taken so far,” said President Aoki of Advanced Mobility in Japan.
It has been more than 100 years since the birth of the first human-driven car. There is no doubt that it marks a huge change in time and space, drawing the world ever closer. But, driving users do have their hands tied up by cars. They have to waste a lot of time on driving, and fatigue, alcohol and other problems also cause potential driving dangers, changing the fate of many families forever. Roadstar.ai has persistently explored in the autonomous driving field to ensure its pursuit of ultimate safety and comfort technology. They firmly believe that autonomous driving will become an important part of smart cities. It will truly solve the problem of road congestion, reduce the accident rate, free humans of their hands, feet and imagination of future travel, and bring greater safety, convenience and free time to mankind.
“In the future, we will also set ourselves to meet even greater challenges and adopt advanced technology to make people’s future mobility safer, more comfortable, reliable and intelligent,” said Tong Xianqiao.