Toyota-supported startup Pony.ai is elevating $ 267 million in donations

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© Reuters. Autonomous electric vehicles deliver packages during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in California

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SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Pony.ai, supported by Toyota Motor (NYSE 🙂 Corp announced Friday it raised $ 267 million in the initial stages of its fundraising round, which the self-driving startup valued at $ 5.3 billion, to bolster its presence in the United States and China .

The latest funding, coming just eight months after the company’s $ 462 million fundraiser, makes Pony.ai one of the most valuable independent autonomous driving startups, with a higher rating than competitors Aurora and Nuro, according to data provider Pitchbook.

The investment comes at a time when global automakers, tech companies, startups, and investors – including Tesla (NASDAQ :), Alphabet (NASDAQ 🙂 Inc’s Waymo, and Uber (NYSE 🙂 – are pouring capital into developing self-driving vehicles.

Funding was channeled by the Teachers ‘Pension Plan Board (OTPP) of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board (Ontario Teachers), Pony.ai said in a statement.

“The company will investigate mobility services with Toyota,” said CEO James Peng, without disclosing any further details.

Fremont-based company Pony.ai, which is also supported by Sequoia Capital China and Beijing Kunlun Tech Co, plans to use the funds to develop technology and expand its fleet.

Pony.ai began developing its autonomous trucking technologies in early 2019, Peng told Reuters.

The company is testing its vehicles in Fremont, Irvine, as well as in the Chinese cities of Guangzhou and Beijing, and recently opened an operating facility in Shanghai.

The company is showcasing its autonomous Lexus sport utility vehicle and a FAW truck at the China International Import Expo (CIIE), an annual import show in Shanghai that started on Wednesday and will continue into next week.

Pony.ai also recently received an investment from the state-owned automaker FAW Group [SASACJ.UL] and will jointly develop autonomous cars and trucks.

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