The world’s highest-valued A.I start-up, SenseTime marks its arrival into Japan by unveiling their autonomous driving track in the city of Joso, Ibaraki Prefecture.
The Beijing-based company is valued at an eye-popping $ 4.5 billion. They raised over $ 1.2 billion last year. Yesterday, Bloomberg reported that SenseTime is planning on further raising over $ 2 billion in a fresh round of funding. Alibaba Group Holding, Qualcomm, and Fidelity International are some of the chief financial backers of this company.
The former city-owned driving academy is situated in Joso, which is just 50 km away from Tokyo. It also within the vicinity of Tsukuba Science City, Japan’s most prominent research center. The driveway has been revamped and will be solely used for testing driverless cars and other related R&D projects. The driveway will also be open to the public which would let people pop in and witness the wonders of Artificial Intelligence.
If CES 2019 has taught us anything, it is that autonomous driving is the future of automobiles. And Japan clearly doesn’t want to miss out on the opportunity. The country even mentioned that robots and autonomous vehicles are going to be a big part of the 2020 Summer Olympics to be held in Tokyo. Following the launch of the driving park, Mayor of Joso – Takeshi Kandatsu said
We are glad to have the company setting up an R&D center for autonomous driving in our city. I believe autonomous driving vehicles will bring not only revolutionary changes to our traffic system but also solutions to regional traffic problems. With the help of SenseTime, I look forward to seeing autonomous cars running on the roads of Joso. We will give full support to make it happen.
This isn’t the only ties the company has with Japan. Last year, SenseTime announced that it would be working with the Japanese automobile giant, Honda on a five-year project. The project aims to combine A.I and deep learning with Honda’s automotive prowess to power it driveless cars of the future with Level 4 autonomous driving technology.