Pony.ai Lands New Chinese Investor
Robo-driving-system developer Pony.ai has attracted China’s FAW Group as its latest backer.
Pony.ai describes the investment as the first by a Chinese state-owned carmaker in a developer of robotic driving systems.
Founded in Fremont, California, in late 2016, the startup has been testing Level 4 robotic driving systems in California and China for the past two years. The company’s aim is to launch robotic-taxi services in both markets.
The size of FAW’s investment was not disclosed, Bloomberg News reports. Pony.ai landed $462 million in a previous funding round led by Toyota in February that hiked the company’s value to $3 billion.
The startup has been using Lexus and Hyundai vehicles as platforms for its tests. As part of its deal with FAW, Pony.ai says it will add the platform that carries the Chinese carmaker’s Red Flag brand electric vehicles.
Pony.ai was founded by two Chinese executives who previously worked on autonomous-car programs at Baidu and Google. The company quickly partnered with Guangzhou Automobile Group to test its system in Lincoln MKZ sedans and GAC Chuanqi small SUVs.
The company said in April it was preparing to deploy a fleet of 10 self-driving Hyundai Kona electric crossover vehicles to deliver food and other packages in Irvine, California.
There have been more than 20 reported attacks against Waymo’s self-driving fleet in Chandler, Ariz., since the company began testing the technology on public roads there two years ago.
This is the 3E. A design by the renowned automotive designer Camilo Pardo, the man behind many striking designs, including the ‘05/’06 production Ford GT.
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