Autonomous driving startup Freetech secured more than USD 100 million in a Series A round from investors including China Internet Investment Fund, Huiyou Capital, and Dongfeng Bank of Communications. The funds will mainly be used to scale the production of Freetech’s solutions, which encompass vehicle perception and control through the use of cameras, radar, and sensors.
Established in 2016, Freetech supplies its intelligent driving products to over 40 original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), including FAW Group, SAIC Motor, Chang’An Automobile, Geely, and Dongfeng Motor Corp. With research and development centers in Hangzhou, Shanghai, Jiaxing, and Huzhou, the company plans to develop new L3 autonomous driving capabilities, in addition to its current L2 and L2+ offerings.
“Our flexible L2 autopilot solutions can provide Chinese consumers with a new ‘human-machine co-driving’ experience that is cost effective,” founder Zhang Lin said. The company generated annual revenue to the tune of RMB 150 million (USD 23.2 million) in 2020, and expects a three-fold increase this year, Zhang said. Freetech reached an agreement to supply L3 technologies to an unnamed automaker for vehicles that are set to be released in 2022.
Freetech is also operating two L4 self-driving minibuses in Hangzhou at the Canal Asian Games Park on a trial basis. The unmanned minibus project is meant to test the possibility of autonomous driving in closed, low-speed scenarios, Zhang explained.
“Autonomous driving is a scenario-based application, and OEMs require suppliers to not only have leading software, hardware, and algorithm technology, but also excellent mass production capabilities. We believe that Freetech, unlike many local suppliers, can fully meet the requirements of local OEMs for autonomous driving,” Yang Longzhong, founder of Huiyou Capital said.
China Internet Investment Fund said that backing of Freetech synergizes well with its other investments in the autonomous driving ecosystem. Meanwhile, Dongfeng Motor’s Xiong Jiahong said that Dongfeng and Freetech have established a close relationship and will share strategic resources going forward.
36Kr Connection features translated and adapted content published by 36Kr. This article was originally written by Wang Yijin for 36Kr.