Autonomous driving startup Pony.ai announced on October 12 that it has reached a comprehensive strategic cooperation agreement with lidar firm RoboSense. The two sides will carry out in-depth collaboration in the fields of autonomous driving and intelligent transportation, and promote the large-scale application of automated driving technical solutions.
Based on the second-generation solid-state RS-LiDAR-M1 lidar platform from RoboSense, the two sides will jointly develop customized products to support the production and implementation of mass production schemes for automated driving cars and truck systems.
Pony.ai was established at the end of 2016. Starting from China and the US, it has set up R&D centers in the Silicon Valley, Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai, and has obtained various autonomous driving tests, operation qualifications and licenses within these two countries.
In the field of passenger cars, Pony.ai is steadily advancing the research and development of its sixth-generation automated driving software and hardware system for L4 auto-grade mass production. Compared with the previous generation, the new software and hardware system of Pony.ai follows the technical route of multi-sensor deep integration, and adopts solid-state lidars with better costs and on a large scale.
In the field of commercial vehicles, Cyantron, a joint venture between Pony.ai’s automated driving freight subsidiary, and Sinotrans, one of the largest logistics companies in China, started business operations on April 1. At the same time, Pony.ai has established a joint venture with Sany Heavy Truck, a heavy equipment manufacturing company in China, to build a “golden triangle” of intelligent logistics including automated driving companies, logistics companies and heavy duty truck manufacturers.
In addition, since Pony.ai launched automated driving service PonyPilot for China in 2018, it has gradually grown to cover four first-tier cities across the country, namely Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, and it has provided more than 1 million automated driving service orders to the public.
Pony.ai is also favored by capital markets. In March of this year, it announced the completion of the first stage of D-round financing, giving it an overall valuation of $8.5 billion. The funds will be used for team expansion, technology R&D, and expansion of robotaxi and robotruck fleets. The company will also invest in global testing and operations, mass production of automated driving technology and commercial exploration.