An autonomous automobile collectively developed by Toyota and Pony.ai is on show in the course of the third China Worldwide Import Expo (CIIE) on the Nationwide Exhibition and Conference Middle on November 5, 2020 in Shanghai, China.
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Pony.ai, an autonomous driving firm based mostly within the U.S. and China, stated Monday it’s now valued at $8.5 billion after a contemporary injection of funds.
The funding spherical and comparatively excessive valuation highlights robust investor urge for food for a way forward for self-driving taxis and vehicles.
Pony.ai was based in 2016 and backed by automaker Toyota. The corporate makes driverless programs that can be utilized by automakers and is a competitor to the likes of Waymo, the self-driving automotive subsidiary of Google mum or dad Alphabet.
Pony.ai has been testing its robotaxis within the southern Chinese language metropolis of Guangzhou and in California. A security driver continues to be required behind the wheel.
The beginning-up has confronted some challenges of late. In December, the California Division of Motor Autos suspended Pony.ai’s driverless testing permit after considered one of its vehicles hit a highway middle divider and a site visitors register Fremont.
And final yr, Pony.ai halted plans to go public within the U.S. as China continued to tighten rules on the nation’s know-how sector, Reuters reported.
The cash from the most recent money injection will go towards hiring, funding in analysis, testing of driverless taxis and trucking, and pushing towards mass business deployment, the corporate stated.
Pony.ai’s $8.5 billion valuation is an enormous step up from its final funding spherical in November 2020 when it was valued at $5.3 billion.
James Peng, CEO of Pony.ai, stated in a press release the funding may also enable the corporate to “open up various new autonomous automobile international testing and operation websites” and “progress” its strategic partnerships and develop its fleet of vehicles.
Pony.ai’s finance chief Lawrence Steyn, who was hired last year, stated the brand new cash “funds improvement at Pony.ai a number of years into the long run — in actual fact, we consider, as much as the window for our anticipated launch of mass commercialization.”
Steyn didn’t say when the corporate is concentrating on mass commercialization.
Pony.ai is considered one of a number of autonomous driving firms with roots in China making an attempt to push commercialization of driverless autos. A few of its opponents embody Alibaba-backed DeepRoute.ai in addition to WeRide. In the meantime, web big Baidu has been aggressively increasing its autonomous automotive fleet and final yr gained approval to begin charging fares in Beijing for its robotaxis.