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Pony.ai, a global autonomous driving technology company, has become the first and only autonomous driving (AD) company to obtain a taxi license in China. Pony.ai was awarded a permit to operate 100 autonomous vehicles as traditional taxis in Nansha, Guangzhou.
In May, Pony.ai will start charging fares in the entire 800 square kilometers of Nansha with 100 robotaxis, and intends to gradually expand the scale and scope of service to other areas of Guangzhou to benefit more residents.
The robotaxis will operate in both daytime and night-time with service hours from 8:30 to 22:30 and with fares based on the standard taxi pricing in Guangzhou.
While the Pony.ai robotaxi currently retains a safety driver, the company expects to remove the driver over the short to intermediate time frame.
Pony.ai plans to expand its commercialised robotaxi footprint to the other two Tier-1 cities in China next year and to more cities by the start of Pony.ai’s mass commercialisation planned for 2024/2025.
Pony.ai currently has autonomous vehicle testing and operations in all four of China’s Tier-1 cities and in California.
James Peng, co-founder and CEO of Pony.ai., says: “Being China’s first autonomous vehicle company to receive a taxi license is a testament to Pony.ai’s technological strength and ability to operate robotaxi services. We will expand the scale of our services, provide quality travel experiences to the public in Guangzhou, create an industry benchmark for robotaxi services and continue to lead the commercialization of robotaxis and robotrucks.”
“The inclusion of autonomous vehicles in the unified and standardized management of taxis proves that both government policy and the public are increasingly accepting robotaxis as a form of everyday transportation, recognizing the ride experience and technical stability of Pony.ai’s robotaxi,” adds Tiancheng Lou, co-founder and CTO of Pony.ai.
Founded in late 2016, Pony.ai has been a pioneer in extending autonomous mobility technologies and services at a rapidly expanding footprint of sites around the world. Pony.ai has formed partnerships with leading OEMs, including Toyota, FAW Group, and GAC Group.