Pony.ai officially announces PonyPilot — a test project for a product-ready autonomous driving fleet within a geo-fenced area in Guangzhou, China.
Pony.ai’s technology benefits from extensive testing in all three of its operational sites: Fremont (Silicon Valley), Beijing, and Guangzhou. In Guangzhou, PonyPilot covers roughly 50km2 (20 mi2) of the central Nansha district, including commercial plazas, office buildings, landmark hotels, libraries, recreational areas, and residential areas. In Fremont and Beijing, Pony.ai’s testing operations also cover roughly 50km2 (20 mi2) each.
The vehicles feature point-to-point dynamic routing, within a geo-fenced area, passengers are able to hail a vehicle at any predetermined point using a mobile app and travel to any other predetermined point within the area. From a technical perspective, this offering requires Pony.ai’s system to be comfortable covering a diverse set of route permutations between any two points, demanding much greater capability than that of a fixed route (e.g. shuttle) or other controlled application.
Pony.ai’s vehicles continue to test in varied road environments, weather environments, traffic conditions, and corner cases, resulting in an ever-improving system stability. The system’s stability improvements are also reflected in the overall rider experience. PonyPilot has been inviting select passengers to participate in the program since it began expanding its scope late last year.
Based on feedback collected from multiple open demo days and PonyPilot rides, Pony.ai has also seen consistent improvement in overall ride comfort as the driving system continues to improve and optimize. Through PonyPilot, riders are also able to follow along with the vehicle’s location and decisions, gaining greater insight into AV technology.
Currently, PonyPilot is available to Pony.ai employees and select affiliates by invitation only, but the company plans to consider expansion in the future.