Pony.ai held a special event in China during which it launched its autonomous ride-sharing fleet, becoming the first company to offer self-driving car rides on city roads to the general public in China.
Event attendees were able to experience Pony.ai’s fully self-driving cars on a 2.8km route (roughly 1.7 miles). The event took place on Feb. 2nd in downtown Nansha, Guangzhou, where the company has recently established its China headquarters. In addition to trial rides, the event also consisted of a signing ceremony that solidified a strategic partnership between the company and China’s second-largest carmaker, Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC Group).
Pony.ai showcased six cars at their event:
- Four Lincoln MKZs (large four-door sedan)
- Two GAC Chuanqis (compact SUV)
This launch’s trial route was an opportunity for Pony.ai to showcase some of its technological progress. The route featured several challenging scenarios, including three consecutive lane changes on Phoenix Boulevard, large multi-lane intersections, and bridge-crossings involving sloped roads.
A number of Guangzhou citizens were able to experience a trial ride with Pony.ai engineers. While on the ride, the engineers provided an overview of the technology, helping citizens engage more directly with the innovations that are revolutionizing the transportation system. During Pony.ai’s time in Guangzhou, the team has also developed a specific software module that enables the cars to handle inclement weather and heavy rain conditions. This technical breakthrough has enabled Pony.ai to achieve new heights in reliability and safety.
GAC Group and Pony.ai join forces to realize a self-driving future
Pony.ai and GAC Group established a strategic partnership to collaborate in four key areas. These four areas include further development of self-driving technology, autonomous vehicle operationalization, broader mobility development, and capital partnership. Together, the two companies will work closely to make progress in research, development, and manufacturing.
Pony.ai continues to work closely with the Nansha district, partners, and investors
Peng, Pony.ai CEO, expressed gratitude for the Nansha government’s unwavering support and revealed plans to establish an autonomous pilot zone for citizens to experience the convenience and safety of autonomous vehicles. Peng said that in a three-month period, Pony.ai was able to successfully modify and test its vehicles, achieving a level of maturity that enables everyday citizens to try out the technology themselves. Pony.ai was supported at the event by several key partners that also attended, including LiDAR company Velodyne, autonomy enabler AutonomouStuff, and sensor company BDStar Navigation. Working with new and existing partners, Pony.ai will build on Nansha’s automotive foundation to create a leading city in innovative mobility.