Venture Capital: Momenta Raises $500M From Automotive Majors Including Toyota

Top global automotive companies want a stake in an autonomous future.

SAIC Motor (SHA: 600104), Toyota Motor (TYO: 7203), and auto parts supplier Bosch are among the investors to fund a $500 million Series C round by Chinese autonomous driving startup Momenta. The startup, which counts Daimler and Tencent Holdings amongst its backers, also received investments in the current round from Singaporean sovereign fund Temasek, Alibaba founder Jack Ma’s Yunfeng Capital, Xiaomi founder Lei Jun’s Shunwei Capital, Cathay Capital, and some unnamed institutions. (Reuters)

Data the key to autonomous driving

Momenta says it is building the “brain” for autonomous driving. It partners with OEMs and Tier 1s to provide them with mass-production-ready software of multi-level autonomy for various driving scenarios. In doing so, it also gets its hands on mountains of data, including how and when humans intervene. This data helps to train its algorithms at relatively low costs.

Momenta’s vision-based (camera-based) HD mapping uses low-cost consumer-grade sensor sets, which consist of a camera, GPS, and IMU to automatically generate HD maps with a 10cm level relative accuracy.

“Say you operate 10,000 autonomous cars to reap data. That could easily cost you $1 billion a year; 100,000 cars would cost $10 billion, which is a terrifying number for any tech giant,” Momenta founder Cao Xudong said in a Medium post in 2019.“If you want to acquire seas of data that have a meaningful reach, you have to build a product for the mass market.”

It recently tied up with Toyota to provide automated HD mapping and updates through vision-based technologies. The two companies aim to advance the commercialization of Toyota’s Automated Mapping Platform (AMP).

Momenta will use the Series C funds to further expand its data collection efforts and also boost its hiring.

Related Story:  Self-Driving Bus Does Five Mile Route Daily In Málaga, Spain

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