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Horizon Robotics set to raise $100M led by Intel Capital

(Bloomberg) -- Horizon Robotics, a startup that makes computer chips, is set to complete a $100 million funding round led by Intel Capital as it targets building a prototype driverless car that can park itself.

The funds will be finalized by December and go toward hiring more engineers as well as research and development, co-founder Kai Yu said. Yu, formerly one of Chinese search giant Baidu Inc.’s leading scientists, said the prototype could be ready by the end of the year.

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A member of the media test drives a Tesla Motors Inc. Model S car equipped with Autopilot in Palo Alto, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. Tesla Motors Inc. will begin rolling out the first version of its highly anticipated "autopilot" features to owners of its all-electric Model S sedan Thursday. Autopilot is a step toward the vision of autonomous or self-driving cars, and includes features like automatic lane changing and the ability of the Model S to parallel park for you. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

“The money will last us till our next big milestone, which is a serious deployment of our products on cars,” he said, adding that the current plan was to have cars on Chinese roads by 2019. “If we can prove that one car model can be done successfully we can expand very quickly.”

Other investors in the Series A+ round included Harvest Investments, Hillhouse Capital, Wu Capital, Linear Ventures and Morningside Venture Capital. Intel Capital invests in technology to broaden adoption of parent Intel Corp’s chips.

Horizon designs computer chips that are optimized to run neural networks -- a popular form for artificial intelligence now used by search giants and driverless cars alike. It also makes software customized to these chips that can be installed in everything from vehicles to smart speakers.