Chinese autonomous vehicle startup Pony.ai has introduced its driverless robotaxi service in Shenzhen.
On Monday, the autonomous vehicle technology company revealed that it has received a permit in Shenzhen to conduct robotaxi services without an onboard safety officer in the city’s core areas, according to a report by CnEVPost.
Pony.ai was founded in late 2016, and since then has established research and development (R&D) centers in Silicon Valley, Guangzhou, Beijing, and Shanghai, and is running robotaxi operations locally.
The company launched the robotaxi app PonyPilot in December 2018, and in November 2020, it secured a permit to operate the robotaxi service in Beijing.
In March 2021, Pony.ai announced that it had received a license in Beijing to operate fully unmanned robotaxi services within a 60 sq.km area in the Yizhuang Economic Development Zone.
In April, the company was granted permission to offer robotaxi service without a safety officer in the vehicle in Guangzhou.
Baidu is the only other firm that has obtained such a permit.
Pony.ai Has 200,000 Paid Travel Orders
Pony.ai’s expansion into the sprawling metropolis of Shenzhen comes as the company has been able to quickly roll out self-driving technology in different cities.
The company said that driverless vehicles need to undergo rigorous testing before hitting the road, including remote and extreme scenarios, safety management, network and data security, risk response, and a comprehensive assessment by experts and government departments.
To date, Pony.ai has more than 1 million kilometres of fully unmanned testing and nearly 200,000 paid travel orders.
Pony.ai, which is backed by Toyota Motor and NIO Capital, aims to remain at the forefront of China’s rapidly growing autonomous vehicle market.
The Chinese government has identified self-driving cars as a key strategic area for growth and has been actively supporting the development of the sector.
The country had previously said that it wants to have vehicles with partial self-driving technology account for 50% of all new-auto sales by 2025.
Meanwhile, Pony.ai faces stiff competition from rivals such as Baidu and Didi Chuxing.
Autonomous cars have been in development for over a decade, but the market has been heating up just recently as investors and automakers pour billions of dollars into the business.
Several companies including Waymo, Cruise, and Zoox, have launched their own robotaxi services all over the world.
Robotaxis are expected to reduce traffic, lower transportation costs, and improve safety.
They also have the potential to significantly reduce traffic congestion. A fleet of self-driving cars can be programmed to travel in the most efficient way possible, avoiding traffic jams, and waiting times.
By reducing traffic congestion, Robotaxis can help alleviate the issues of air pollution and environmental degradation caused by long idling times in congested traffic.
Pony.ai, a self-driving technology company, announced on April 26, 2023 that it has introduced its driverless robotaxi service in Shenzhen, China. This is the second city in China where Pony.ai is offering its driverless robotaxi service, following the launch of the service in Guangzhou in 2022.
The launch of the driverless robotaxi service in Shenzhen is a significant milestone for Pony.ai, as it demonstrates the company’s progress in developing safe and reliable autonomous driving technology. The service is currently being offered in a limited area of Shenzhen, but Pony.ai plans to expand the service to more areas in the city in the coming months.
To use the driverless robotaxi service, riders can download the Pony.ai app and book a ride. The app will show the rider the estimated time of arrival and the route that the robotaxi will take. Once the rider is picked up, they can sit back and relax, as the robotaxi will take them to their destination.
The driverless robotaxi service is priced at the same rate as a traditional taxi in Shenzhen. Riders can pay for their rides using cash, credit card, or Alipay.
Pony.ai is one of a number of companies that are developing driverless robotaxi services. Other companies that are working on driverless robotaxi services include Waymo, Uber, and Cruise.
The launch of the driverless robotaxi service in Shenzhen is a sign that the technology is becoming more mature and that it is ready for wider adoption. As the technology continues to develop, we can expect to see more driverless robotaxi services being offered in cities around the world.
Here are some additional details about the driverless robotaxi service in Shenzhen:
- The service is currently being offered in a limited area of the city, but Pony.ai plans to expand the service to more areas in the coming months.
- The service is priced at the same rate as a traditional taxi in Shenzhen.
- Riders can pay for their rides using cash, credit card, or Alipay.
- The service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.