Pony.ai Receives Taxi License for Autonomous Vehicles in China
Autonomous vehicle start-up Pony.ai has been awarded a permit to operate 100 robotaxis alongside traditional ride-hailing services in Guangzhou.
The announcement reinforces Pony.ai’s progress towards commercial autonomy, as well as the Guangzhou government’s formal implementation of autonomous mobility services. Pony.ai is now the first and sole company to obtain a taxi license in China.
Beginning in May, Pony.ai will start charging passengers for rides in the Nansha district, with fares based on standard taxi pricing.
To qualify for the license, Pony.ai had to pass stringent safety and other multifaceted vehicle qualification tests set forth by national inspection institutes. This included “having at least 24 months of autonomous driving testing in China and/or other countries, at least one million kilometres of testing milage, at least 200,000 kilometres of autonomous driving testing within Guangzhou’s designated test area, and no involvement in any active liability traffic accidents.”
And, while the vehicle currently retains a safety driver, the company expects to remove the driver in the short to intermediate time frame.
“Being China’s first autonomous vehicle company to receive a taxi license is a testament to Pony.ai’s technological strength and ability to operate robotaxi services,” said James Peng, co-founder and CEO of Pony.ai.
“We will expand the scale of our services, provide quality travel experiences to the public in Guangzhou, create an industry benchmark for robotaxi services and continue to lead the commercialisation of robotaxis and robotrucks.”
Guangzhou isn’t the first city in which Pony.ai has charged for its services. The company received a permit last November to charge passengers within a small suburban pilot zone in Beijing, making it the first approved autonomous driving service to operate in two Tier-1 cities in China
If commercialisation in Guangzhou and Beijing is successful, Pony.ai intends to expand its footprint to two other major Chinese cities next year, with further expansion planned for 2024 and 2025.
29 April 2022