Pony.AI Launches China’s First Robotaxi Service

Add Guangzho, China, to the list of places where the general public can ride in self-driving cars, according to TechCrunch.

Autonomous driving technology startup Pony.ai has become the first company to operate an autonomous ride-hailing service on public roads for public users in China. The company, just over a year-old, recently raised $112 million in a Series A round to help it accelerate its efforts, and its fleet is running a nearly two-mile route in Nansha, Guangzhou, where its China HQ is located.

Between Baidu’s Apollo project, Didi self-driving robotaxi work, Momenta’s deep learning efforts, BYTON’s plans for electrics self-driving cars, and now Pony.AI, China is becoming a key player in the race toward autonomous vehicles.

Interestingly, Pony’s fleet includes: “four Lincoln MKZs, as well at two Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC) Chuanqis.”

I wonder if the MKZs came from AutonomouStuff.

Update: Several commenters have pointed out, I think correctly, that with only six cars operating on a very short, fixed route, this isn’t really a “robotaxi” service. More like a proof of concept. Still a big step!