China’s tech media outlet 36kr reported today that Yunchuang Zhixing (云创智行), a Suzhou-based developer of self-driving sanitation vehicles and comprehensive solutions, had completed a Series A round of financing worth tens of millions of yuan.
The round was led by NIO Capital, followed by MinxiXinghang State-owned Investment & Operation Co. Ltd and Yongzhi Assets.
The funds raised this time will be used to develop the startup’s core technologies, achieve mass adoption and monetize its operation on a wider scale.
Founded in March 2021, Yunchuang Zhixing is a startup specializing in making autonomous robotic road sweepers or floor scrubbers tailored to street cleaning.
Notably, the company completed its pre-Series A funding round led by NIO Capital in July last year, and closed another follow-on pre-Series A+ round backed solely by Baidu.venture in November of the same year.
According to market research, from 2022 to 2030, China’s self-driving sanitation vehicle sector will transition from a period of trial operation to one of scalable adoption, with surging demand pushing up both the shipment and market size.
Venture capital has poured into this space, lured by the prospects of wider adoption of robotic sweepers to keep Chinese roads clean and tidy.
According to a report by Estar Capital, published on February 25, 2022, self-driving robotic sweepers would be less costly to deploy and use in China from 2022 on than human-driven sanitation vehicles, indicating an incoming deflection point in the sector’s commercialization.
The industry is projected to reach a penetration rate of 5% by 2025, equivalent to 300,000 robotic sweepers in service and a market value of 270 billion yuan (US$39.31 billion), 36Kr quoted unnamed sources as saying.
Amid an industrial boom, Yunchuang Zhixing has built a suite of all-in-one urban sanitation solutions ranging from production of driverless vehicles, to cloud-based remote control of vehicle fleets and formulation of a smart operating system.
The startup, however, faces competition from the likes of Cowarobot (酷哇机器人), DeepBlue AI (深兰科技), autowise.ai (仙途智能) and Gaussian Robotics (高仙机器人).