Pony.ai demonstrated its latest self-developed autonomous driving technology at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai on Wednesday, and officially announced it’s Robotaxi service in Shanghai, operating along the main roads of Jiading District.
At the meeting, Zhang Ning, Vice President of Pony.ai, gave a speech on autonomous driving and finally revealed the details of its commercial operation plans for the PonyTron service. He said that users could now take autonomous vehicles through the PonyPilot + App. According to iFeng News, the vehicles put into service include theLexus RX models, which are equipped with the latest automatic driving systems.
As of February 2021, Pony.ai has raised a total of over USD $1.1 billion and its valuation exceeds USD $5.3 billion. Its main investors include Toyota Motor Corporation, Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan (OTPP), Sequoia Capital and IDG Capital. At present, Pony.ai has reached agreements with several car manufacturers, such as Toyota, Hyundai, FAW, and Guangzhou Automobile. Its cumulative mileage of automatic driving test currently exceeds 6 million kilometers.
Pony.ai has now provided Robotaxi services in Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, Irvine and Fremont, California, USA, and owns about 200 self-driving cars.
In addition to its passenger cars, Pony.ai has also obtained a road transport business license in early May and is starting commercial operations. Its self-driving trucks have moved about 13,650 tons of freight, with a commercial operation mileage of 37,466 kilometers.
At the Shanghai World Artificial Intelligence Conference, Pony.ai also exhibited Iris, a high-performance long-range lidar produced by Luminar, its partner in lidar enterprises. It is estimated that by 2023, Iris Lidar will be equipped with the automatic driving system of Pony.ai’s large-scale mass production vehicles.
In June this year, Pony.ai said that it was considering going public in the U.S., so as to raise money for the commercialization of its self-driving network car services.
Autopilot startups such as Alphabet’s Waymo and General Motors’s Cruise have been racing to raise funds as the entire industry prepares to expand its operations.
For these self-driving technology companies, in addition to solving technical challenges and the huge cost of producing self-driving cars, the industry also needs to convince global regulators and the public of the safety of fully self-driving cars.