Chinese autonomous driving sensor developer CalmCar raises USD 14 million

Chinese automaker SAIC Motor is the main backer.

Photo:Shutterstock.com

Tianjin-based autonomous driving sensor solution provider CalmCar said on Wednesday in a WeChat post that it has closed its Series A2 round, bagging more than RMB 100 million.

The round’s investors include SAIC Capital and SAIC Motor Technologies Fund, which are both affiliated with SAIC Motor, one of China’s largest conventional automakers. Beijing Internet of Vehicles Industry Fund, which is co-managed by Shenzhen-listed China TransInfo and venture capital firm GSR United Capital, also took part in the investment round.

CalmCar, which was set up in March 2016, said the new funds will be put toward mass producing its sensing system, which could be used to support Level 2+ autonomous driving. Level 2 self-driving is essentially “hands off” driving, where the automated system controls most functions but the driver still needs to monitor road conditions to intervene when necessary. The cash will also be used to enhance cooperation with automakers and tier-one suppliers.

The startup added that it will soon team up with SAIC Motor to push its products from the experimental phase to the mass production stage.

China TransInfo, which provides roadside sensing services and vehicle-infrastructure cooperative systems, will also help CalmCar with applying its technologies to real world uses, such as fully automated parking.

The autonomous driving sector is an area where venture capital funds are placing big bets. For instance, China TransInfo received an investment of USD 520 million from Alibaba in May.

In this week alone, autonomous trucking startup TuSimple closed its Series D round, collecting USD 215 million, while autonomous driving firm AutoX raised USD 100 million in its Series A round.