The rush for lidar companies continues as more automakers and robotic startups incorporate the remote sensing method into their vehicles.
The latest to the investment boom is Shanghai-based lidar maker Hesai, founded in 2014 with an office in Palo Alto. The company raised more than $300 million in a Series D funding round led by GL Ventures, the private equity firm Hillhouse Capital, the venture capital arm of smartphone maker Xiaomi, on-demand services giant Meituan, and CPE, the private equity arm of Citi. Platform is.
hesai said The new proceeds will be spent on mass production of its hybrid solid-state lidar for its OEM customers, building its smart manufacturing facility, and research and development on automotive-grade lidar chips. The company said it has raised “several hundred million dollars” in funding so far.
Other participants in the round included Huatai Securities, Lightspeed China Partners and Lightspeed Venture Capital, as well as Qiming Venture Partners. Bosch, Baidu and ON Semiconductor are also among its shareholders.
Another Chinese lidar startup Innovation, a major supplier of electric vehicle startup Nio, raised a $64 million round led by Temasek in May. Livox is another emerging lidar manufacturer that was an offshoot of DJI.
Lidar isn’t limited to powering robotaxis and passenger EVs, and that’s why Hesai got Xiaomi and Meituan onboard. Xiaomi through its manufacturing suppliers makes hundreds of different connected devices that can easily benefit from industrial automation, for which sensing technology is important. But the phone maker also revealed plans to make an electric car this year.
Meituan, which is delivering food to hundreds of millions of consumers in China, could similarly benefit from replacing human riders with lidar-capable unmanned vans and drones.
With a staff of more than 500 employees, Hesai says its customers are spread across 70 cities in 23 countries. The company touts Nuro, Bosch, Lyft, Navya and Chinese robottaxi operators Baidu, WeRide and AutoX among its customers. Last year, it kickstarted a Scale AI . partnership with, a data labeling company, to launch an open-source data set for training autonomous driving algorithms, with data collected using Hesai’s Lidar in California.
Last July, Hessai and lidar technology pioneer Velodyne entered into a long-term licensing agreement As both rejected legal proceedings in the US, Germany and China.