WeRide to move to paying autonomous mini bus service 2021.

China autonomous mini bus

Hello, greetings, just in case you are wondering who WeRide is, maybe a short introduction, explanation is needed. Lets start out by saying no, they are not related to Tencent’s WeChat. In fact, strangely, and usually in China’s fast moving tech world and autonomous vehicles, it seems not even backed or supported by Tencent.

WeRide is a Guangzhou startup that has developed a driverless minibus platform and service. According to the company, WeRide has raised over $500 million in finance including, $200 million from bus building partner, Yutong in December 2020 . More recently it secured, $110 million from a series B and C funding round.

Founded in 2017 WeRide has research and development and operations centres in Beijing, Shanghai, and Anging, (Anhui Province ). It maintains a facility in Silicon Valley, California, where it is involved in driverless automobile testing. Largely around autonomous or robotaxis. It also has major backing from Nissan, as well as investments from Renault and Mitsubishi.

The company has built its success around a multi pronged strategic partnership or alliance with a variety of like minded businesses such as automobile makers, AI , and mobility service platforms. To date the company has only been able to provide free “trial” services but intends to move toward paying services this year 2021. In China companies can not charge for “trial” services during testing of autonomous or semi autonomous vehicles.

For a little more in depth reading and the autonomous driving situation in China generally, this report from South China Morning Post is useful. However, that may not open in China, in which case we recommend this Premium article from Caixin Global.

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