Pony.ai, a leading autonomous vehicle startup, has introduced its driverless robotaxi service in the city of Shenzhen, marking another milestone in its expansion strategy. The company has obtained a permit that allows it to conduct unmanned robotaxi operations without an onboard safety officer in the core areas of Shenzhen, according to a report by CnEVPost.
Since its establishment in late 2016, Pony.ai has set up research and development centers in Silicon Valley, Guangzhou, Beijing, and Shanghai, and has been actively running robotaxi operations locally. The company launched its PonyPilot robotaxi app in December 2018 and received a permit to operate the service in Beijing in November 2020. In March 2021, Pony.ai further obtained a license to offer fully unmanned robotaxi services within a designated area in the Yizhuang Economic Development Zone of Beijing. Subsequently, the company was granted permission to provide robotaxi services without a safety officer in Guangzhou in April.
Pony.ai’s expansion into the bustling city of Shenzhen showcases its ability to rapidly deploy self-driving technology across different locations. The company emphasizes the rigorous testing its driverless vehicles undergo, including assessments of remote and extreme scenarios, safety management, network security, data security, risk response, and comprehensive evaluations by industry experts and government authorities.
To date, Pony.ai has accumulated an impressive record of over 1 million kilometers of fully unmanned testing and has fulfilled nearly 200,000 paid travel orders. Supported by investments from Toyota Motor and NIO Capital, Pony.ai remains dedicated to staying at the forefront of China’s flourishing autonomous vehicle market.
The Chinese government has recognized self-driving cars as a strategically important area for growth and has actively supported the development of the sector. With a goal to have vehicles equipped with partial self-driving technology account for 50% of all new-auto sales by 2025, the government’s commitment highlights the significance of autonomous driving in the country’s future transportation landscape.
While Pony.ai enjoys a leading position in the autonomous vehicle market, it faces formidable competition from major players such as Baidu and Didi Chuxing. The race to develop autonomous cars has intensified in recent years, with investors and automakers pouring substantial investments into the sector. Companies like Waymo, Cruise, and Zoox have launched their own robotaxi services worldwide, driven by the potential benefits of reducing traffic congestion, lowering transportation costs, improving safety, and addressing environmental concerns.
The introduction of Pony.ai’s driverless robotaxi service in Shenzhen represents a significant step forward for autonomous transportation, solidifying the company’s position as a key player in the industry and contributing to the realization of a future with efficient and sustainable mobility solutions.