Momenta Raises $500M for Self-Driving Startup

Chinese autonomous-driving startup company Momenta announced Friday, March 19, 2021, that it had successfully gained $500 million from a recent Series C investment round. Following the cash injection the company’s total funding is now more than $700 million, reports Tech Crunch.

The five-year-old startup counts big names within the global auto industry as part of its investors for the said Series C funding round. The round was led by industry giants such as SAIC Motor, Toyota Motor, and Bosch, an auto parts supplier.

Other investors also took part in the recent Series C investment round. These include the maker of luxury vehicle Mercedes-Benz, Daimler AG, Temasek, Tencent, and Yunfeng Capital, notes Reuters. Nikkei Asia also said that the company has partnered with Nvidia.

Momenta Raises Self-Driving Startup

In addition to these investors, Tech Crunch reveals that Cathay Capital, Shunwei Capital, founded by Xiaomi’s founded Lei Jun, and other undisclosed institutions have supported Momenta. The company has reportedly exceeded the $1 billion valuations in just two years.

Momenta is a five-year-old autonomous driving startup company based in Suzhou, China. It was founded by former Microsoft executive Cao Xudong in 2016.

According to Nikkei Asia, the company makes use of deep learning abilities to analyze data obtained from cameras and sensors placed inside a vehicle. With its deep learning abilities, Momenta’s system can detect and construct a map of its surroundings with a precision target or around 10 centimeters.

The investment of industry giants, said Tech Crunch, is a sign that more and more businesses are interested in what smart driving has to offer.

In a statement by founded and chief executive officer of Momenta, Cao Xudong, he said, “The auto industry needs to develop more advantages when confronting Tesla’s marketing today, so they are paying more attention to autonomous driving.”

Tech Crunch went on a test ride with Momenta, with the company’s deep learning abilities powering up a Lincoln. While the news site finds its driving capacity to be quite slow, it admits that the self-driving car successfully maneuvered through Suzhou despite challenges such as unleashed dogs, jaywalkers, and the like dotting the streets.

In a statement, Momenta research and development engineer Jiang Yunfei recognizes the need to keep up with the fast-paced lifestyle and speed that many drivers are accustomed to, saying, “Some drivers may want the autonomous driving car to be more aggressive, so we are also exploring a system that learns from individual style. Of course, on the condition that the car is obeying traffic rules.”

Following the $500-million funding, Momenta aims to expand its company by adding more employees. Moreover, it also aims to double down on its future technologies, reports Reuters.