Autonomous Driving Unicorn Pony.ai Reshuffles Truck Division; Key Team Leaders Leave
According to media outlet LatePost, Chinese self-driving unicorn Pony.ai merged its self-driving truck R&D team into its passenger car R&D team.
The move, which the company undertook a couple of months ago, follows the departure of Pan Zhenhao, chief of self-driving technology in the company’s truck division and Sun Haowen, head of the company’s domestic self-driving Planning & Control Group.
Pan Zhenhao was the core technician of Pony.ai, and is in frequent contact with Lou Tiancheng, co-founder and CTO of Pony.ai. He directly leads a team of many senior engineers and is responsible for undertaking forward-looking research.
In August prior to the adjustment, Reuters reported that Pony.ai had put on hold its plans to go public in the US through a merger with a blank check company. People close to the company believe that the main reason for the adjustment of the truck department is that the listing was blocked, which means that the company needed to reconsider the allocation of its resources.
Pony.ai confirmed this report, saying, Pony.ai has recently optimized its R&D team structure and mobilized all its R&D resources to support the growth of its businesses and maximize its R&D synergy.”
At the end of March this year, Pony.ai officially released the independent brand “PonyTron”, a subdivision of the company that focuses on the truck business. In April, PonyTron signed a cooperation framework with ZF, a supplier of automobile brake control systems. In May, PonyTron announced that it had obtained the freight transport business license in Nansha District, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province. In July, Li Hengyu, CEO of PonyTron, said that PonyTron had carried out road tests for more than 200 days, completed the transportation of 13,600 tons of goods and 37,000 kilometers of commercial operation mileage.
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An insider said that until July this year, PonyTron’s autonomous driving department had been recruiting people. However, there are indications that the truck portion of Pony.ai is shrinking. Some time before the organizational restructuring, the recruitment slowed down. After the adjustment, domestic road tests for the trucks were still going on, but the road tests for its trucks based in the USA have been suspended.