Drive.ai has announced a $50 million series B funding round, led by New Enterprise Associates, Inc. (NEA) with participation from GGV Capital and existing investors, including Northern Light Venture Capital, who led Drive.ai’s series A. This funding will bolster the company’s technology development, global reach, and scalability.
Drive.ai is advancing the self-driving reality through technology and advocacy. Drive.ai’s technology is grounded in deep learning, powering its self-driving system to learn driving routes and scenarios with unrivaled pace, scalability, efficiency and cost. Drive.ai’s business strategy is aimed at powering fleets of vehicles with retrofit kits, transforming traditional vehicles into self-driving models. The kits will soon be deployed on existing business fleets, with pilots starting later this year.
“Drive.ai has an ambitious vision. Our company is out to transform the relationship between people, cars, and the world around them,” said Sameep Tandon, CEO and co-founder of Drive.ai. “The self-driving race is a complex mix of technology, business models and policy. This funding from NEA and GGV Capital is massive validation of our vision, and gives us essential fuel for tackling all three components.”
Drive.ai also added Carmen Chang and Andrew Ng to its Board of Directors. Chang is chairman and head of Asia at NEA. As a former attorney and current investor, Chang is known for her involvement in formative technology transactions and companies in China. Ng is a renowned deep learning expert who led artificial intelligence projects at Baidu and Google. Ng co-founded Coursera, where he currently serves as co-chairman. In addition, Jenny Lee, managing partner of GGV Capital, is joining as a board observer. Lee is one of the most respected venture capitalists in the world, ranking as the #1 woman and #10 overall on Forbes Global 100 VC Midas List of top venture capitalists in 2015. All three prominent players in the international technology scene, Chang, Ng and Lee will help Drive.ai expand in the U.S. and abroad.
“Self-driving transportation is one of the most exciting and important innovations of our time,” said Chang. “To make self-driving a reality requires an understanding of technology, public policy, business and global society as a whole. Drive.ai deeply understands these requirements and has created a clear leadership position in the race to make self-driving a reality for the world. NEA is thrilled to partner with the talented Drive.ai team as they pioneer the self-driving future.”
“The cutting-edge of autonomous driving has shifted squarely to deep learning,” said Ng. “Even traditional autonomous driving teams have ‘sprinkled on’ some deep learning, but Drive.ai is at the forefront of leveraging deep learning to build a truly modern autonomous driving software stack.”
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