Autonomous vehicle startup Pony.ai has announced is it now valued at $8.5 billion after their latest Series D funding round.
That is a big increase from its previous valuations, when last year it was valued at $5.3 billion last year, and $3 billion in 2020.
The amount of money raised in this latest funding round was not disclosed, nor were the investment firms that participated.
The funding comes after Pony.ai scrapped plans to go public through a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) last year, and will be used for hiring, investment in research, testing of driverless taxis and trucking, and pushing toward mass commercial deployment, the company said.
The money will also allow Pony.ai to “open up a number of new autonomous vehicle global testing and operation sites” and “progress” its strategic partnerships and grow its fleet of cars, according to CEO James Peng.
Founded in China in 2016 and backed by Japanese automaker Toyota, Pony.ai has been testing its autonomous vehicles in China and California.
The company used to have a driverless testing permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), but that was revoked after a single-vehicle crash last year.