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Pony.ai has unveiled its sixth-generation autonomous driving system designed to bring Level 4 driving to mass production vehicles.
The first car to feature the system will be the Toyota S-AM, a seven-seat hybrid platform designed specifically for autonomous mobility. The S-AM, with Pony.ai’s software, is due to start road testing in China this year before being added to the company’s existing robotaxi operations in the first half of 2023.
“Pony.ai was founded with the guiding principle of leading the way to mass deployment of AD technology. We have accumulated more than 10 million kilometres of autonomous mileage worldwide on open roads and throughout 2022, we will continue to invest in our leading R&D and global robotaxi operations,” says James Peng, co-founder and CEO of Pony.ai.
“The introduction of the world-class Toyota S-AM into the PonyPilot+ fleet represents another major achievement of the deep strategic cooperation between Pony.ai and Toyota. Furthermore, Pony.ai’s new generation of autonomous driving systems powered by NVIDIA and designed for L4 automotive-grade mass production, as showcased on the S-AM, will further prove the safety and technical reliability – and promote the large-scale application – of AD technology.”
Pony.ai started developing the self-driving capabilities of the S-AM with Toyota back in 2019. The result is a model with a dual redundancy system with the improved functionality and control performance necessary for Level 4 autonomous driving.
What’s more, as an MPV with seven seats, the S-AM has the flexibility to meet a number of consumer and business use cases.
Central to the car’s improved performance is its array of 23 sensors, including four solid-state LiDARs mounted on the roof along with three near-range LiDARs to cover the blind spots of the roof-mounted sensors.
It also has four MMwave radars on the corner of the roof, a long-range forward-facing MMwave radar, and 11 cameras mounted around the roof and body of the vehicle, including Pony.ai’s self-developed traffic light-sensing camera which has a 50% higher resolution rate than its predecessor.
The new S-AM vehicles also have at least a 30% increase in computing power, thanks to a new partnership with NVIDIA, as well as 30% less weight whilst being 30% cheaper.