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Silicon Valley-based autonomous driving company Pony.ai, has been authorised to conduct driverless tests on public roads in China’s capital city, Beijing. The company is one of the two autonomous software companies to receive a Beijing permit.

Pony.ai is now authorised to conduct testing in an area of around 20 square kilometers in a pilot zone for autonomous driving vehicles.

This area covers major subway stations, residential areas, and tech parks, which allows Pony.ai to test its autonomous technology in the most challenging road conditions. The company says this is a critical milestone on its path to commercialisation and mass deployment.

In June, 2021, the company was authorised to conduct driverless tests in California and Guangzhou, China. 

Prior to receiving this driverless test permit in Beijing, Pony.ai received a permit to conduct tests on certain sections of Beijing highways in July, 2021.

Ning Zhang, VP, and Head of Pony.ai’s Beijing R&D Center, says: “Pony.ai is well on track to build a safe and reliable ‘Virtual Driver,’ which paves the way for future mass deployment. Obtaining driverless test permits is a solid proof of Pony.ai’s leading position in the autonomous driving industry.”

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Pony.ai is currently valued at $5.3B and some of its major investors include Toyota Motor Corporation, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Sequoia Capital China, and IDG Capital.

The company has formed partnerships with leading OEMs including Toyota, Hyundai, GAC Group, FAW Group, etc

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