Ride-hailing platform Didi is hoping to accelerate the development and use of autonomous vehicles as a result of landing a $500 million investment round this week.
The company secured the financial backing in a deal led by SoftBank Vision Fund and it is the first round since a $600 million injection from Toyota in July 2019.
Didi claims it is the largest ever fundraising round in China for the autonomous vehicle industry. To-date Didi has raised $21.7 billion in capital.
Previous Didi investment rounds to support the core ride-hailing business hit a high of $5.5 billion in May 2017.
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Autonomous vehicles have been in the eye of Didi since 20167, when it first began to develop and test the technology.
Its strategy for the nascent unit was upgraded in August last year when autonomous vehicles became an independent company in its own right.
Didi says it plans to "deepen cooperation with global upstream and downstream auto industry partners towards mass production of autonomous driving vehicles."
Testing of vehicles is not far away for Didi, with open-road licenses secured in the Chinese cities of Shanghai, Beijing and Suzhou, as well as California in the U.S.