Pony.ai is a taxi technology company with locations in Silicon Valley, Beijing and Guangzhou. That explains why the company is begins testing its robo-taxis in California. The company was founded in December 2016 by James Peng and Lou Tiacheng and have come quite a long way since then attracting attention from big names like Toyota, Hyundai and so on.
Ahead of its plans to launch driverless taxis in 2022, the transportation company has begun the testing phase in California and Guangzhou becoming the pioneers of this section of driverless cars.
“As we continue to grow and scale, we extended our community responsibility from contactless delivery service throughout the pandemic in California last year to fight against the new COVID-19 outbreak in Guangzhou.”
In Guangzhou, a fleet of 14 driverless vehicles usually convey medical facilities to medical workers to local communities in need. They also helped the city of Fremont deliver meal and medical kits to COVID-19 vulnerable communities.
The company last year switched its public people transporting robotaxi service termed “PonyPilot” operating in Irvine to a package transporting one due to the pandemic. They also partnered with e-commerce platform Yamibuy to provide delivery services to customers in Irvine to solve the ever increasing surge in online orders also provoked by the pandemic.
Pony.ai Driverless Taxis Plans Moving Forward
Now they hope to take this further by operating commercially. To do that they need deployment permits from the California Department of Motor Vehicles and the California Public Utilities Commission. Only Nuno has been given a deployment permit that allows it to operate commercially so one might say Pony.ai still has a long way to go.
Pony.ai driverless taxi testing phase in California starts a month after the state issued the company a permit to test a fleet of six driverless cars in an area about 39 square miles. A lot of companies have been given something similar to this kind of permit; in their case, there has to be a safety driver. Pony.ai was only the 8th company to be issued this kind of permit.