Pony.ai, a Chinese startup that builds full-stack autonomous driving solutions, claimed on March 31 it will expand the scale of its Robotaxi service and announced the brand name of its autonomous truck business “PonyTron”.
“We have a very clear strategy, which is to simultaneously focus on passenger vehicles (PVs) and commercial vehicles (CVs),” said Peng Jun, co-founder and CEO of Pony.ai.
In PV area, Pony.ai launched the autonomous ride-hailing program “PonyPilot” as early as 2018, and then deployed the Robotaxi service in Guangzhou and California.
The startup is about to expand the operations of Robotaxi service into more cities. Commuters in Beijing can have test rides with the autonomous cars equipped with Pony.ai's new-generation autonomous driving system “PonyAlpha X” in the near future, according to Zhang Ning, vice president of Pony.ai.
The company announced in Feb. 2021 that the first batch of mass-produced self-driving cars armed with its latest generation self-driving system officially rolled off the production line. Those cars have been put into public road tests in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, and joined the startup's Robotaxi fleet for scale operation.
In the meantime, “PonyTron”, the brand name of Pony.ai's autonomous truck business, was announced by Li Hengyu, vice president and director of the truck business unit of Pony.ai.
Li said the development of excellent “Virtual Drivers” for trucks will greatly help improve safety, make up for shortage of labors, cope with uneconomical workforce management scale, and make the formation of large-scale fleet possible for logistics industry.
Pony.ai noted it will work with truck manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers, and jointly develop mass-producible highly intelligent autonomous driving solutions by leveraging each other's technical advantages, so as to achieve large-scale production of autonomous trucks and enhance the efficiency of overall logistics ecosystem.
Pony.ai began deploying autonomous truck business in 2018. Last year, it set up truck business unit to further explore the commercialization of autonomous CVs and obtained Guangdong's first license that allows autonomous truck road tests.