(Yicai Global) April 16 -- Chinese internet giant Baidu Inc., which has plowed huge resources into smart driving, led the investment today in the autonomous driving developer Beijing iDriverPlus Technology Co., followed by its original shareholders e-commerce juggernaut JD.Com Inc. and Beijing Shunwei Capital Investment Consulting Co.
The funds will go to research, develop and commercialize driverless technology, tech news outlet 36Kr.com reported today, but without disclosing specific amounts.
iDriverPlus has collaborated with Baidu’s unmanned driving platform Apollo on several occasions and they jointly rolled out an unmanned road sweeper in September with automatic tracking, independent obstacle avoidance and other functions powered by Apollo’s high-precision mapping system.
iDriverPlus focuses on developing low-speed driverless autos in limited applications -- including sanitation vehicles -- as well as unmanned logistics and passenger vehicles. The company has also cooperated with large Chinese carmakers such as Beijing Automotive Group Co. to co-develop semi-autonomous vehicles and conducted over 300,000 kilometers of full-scale tests on highways.
The firm completed series-A funding of about CNY100 million (USD15.9 million), which was jointly infused by Shunwei Capital and JD.Com. iDriverPlus was founded in May 2015, by Zhang Dezhao, its chief executive, who holds a PhD from the automotive engineering school of prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing.