Shanghai (Gasgoo)- Pony.ai, a Chinese autonomous driving startup, announced that it will start an autonomous vehicle trial operation in Nansha, Guangdong Province. This is China's first public-facing autonomous vehicle trial operation.
Established in December 2016, Pony.ai aims to develop the safest and most reliable L4 autonomous driving technologies. The co-founders, CEO James Peng and CTO Lou Tiancheng, had worked for Baidu in the autonomous driving unit.
In the middle of January this year, the startup announced that it had completed a $112 million Series A funding round which was led by Morningside Venture Capital and Legend Capital. Sequoia Capital China and IDG Capital, both of which proffered seed funding for Pony.ai, also participated in this round.
On June 9 last year, Pony.ai received its autonomous vehicle testing permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Besides, in December 2017, it tested a fleet of autonomous vehicles in Guangzhou, where the Chinese headquarters is located.
According to the company's vision, there will be three layers of players in autonomous driving industry in the future. At the bottom layer are the auto manufacturers. At the middle layer are the providers of autonomous driving technologies. At the top are the mobility service providers. Many insiders in the industry think that the autonomous vehicle tests have been initiated in large scale around China, while the official operation has not been really initiated yet. Pony ai.'s autonomous vehicle trial operation may provide guidance for the later trials in this area.
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