China’s EV maker BYD and autonomous driving start-up Momenta established $15.7 million joint venture to deploy autonomous driving capabilities, according to Momenta press release.
This Shenzhen-based new venture, called DiPi Intelligent Mobility Co., consist of 60% and 40% of shares from BYD and Momenta, in which BYD serves as controlling shareholder.
Recently, many automakers and technology firms invest in autonomous driving to take early lead in what many consider as future of mobility.
This JV serves to provide support in level 2 semi-autonomous driving to BYD’s relevant models, and may participate in development.
Level 2 semi-autonomous cars, also known as Partial Driving Automation, are systems in which driver remains to be seated on driver’s seat and hold steering wheel, whilst technology take care of nearly all aspects of driving, from steering to acceleration and braking.
BYD followed to Invest in intelligent driving
Recently, BYD changed to become more aggressive in the intelligent driving segment.
BYD Industry Investment has invested hardware companies such as Allystar (high precision map navigation, sub-meter level positioning), Horizon (3D chip), and Robo Sense (LIDAR).
This JV announcement with Momenta helps to integrate both company’s database and algorithm.
Momenta is an autonomous driving software provider founded in 2016 by Chairman and CEO Cao Xu Dong, who graduated from Tsinghua University and previously worked as a researcher and executive R&D director at Microsoft Research in Asia.
Momenta has multiple automobile strategic and investment partners.
In November, Momenta announced the completion of its C+ round of funding of more than US$500 million, with SAIC, Toyota, GM and Yunfeng Fund in participation. Three months ago, they completed a Series C round of funding with the same amount of $500 million.
In December 2021, Momenta and SAIC Mobility, a unit of Chinese automaker SAIC Motor (600104.SS), began to offer autonomous robotaxi test rides to the public in a Shanghai district as part of a trial.
In November 2021, Chinese search engine giant Baidu Inc (9888.HK) and self-driving startup Pony.ai obtained approval to launch paid driverless robotaxi services in Beijing.
In March 2021, SAIC completed its Series C financing for Momenta, and in September, SAIC further invested in Momenta, and said the two companies will further deepen their strategic cooperation in the core technology of intelligent driving, and start comprehensive cooperation in the three aspects of cloud management and end, to jointly develop intelligent driving algorithms and promote L4-level autonomous driving in China.