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Pony.ai, also known as Xiaoma Zhixing, announced on 24 April that it won the bid for the 2022 taxi capacity index in Guangzhou, China, which makes it the first company to have the permission of landing commercial robotaxi services in both Beijing and Guangzhou as well as the first autonomous driving enterprise to be granted a taxi business license in China.
It is expected that from May onwards, Pony.ai will put 100 self-driving vehicles in operation to provide taxi services in Nansha District, Guangzhou, which is around 800 square kilometres. Citizens can access the services from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. by using the PonyPilot+ App, and the cost of the services is based on the official pricing standard of Guangzhou taxis.
Why it matters
Pony.ai obtaining the taxi business license in China, is a milestone in the development of autonomous vehicles. The bid-winning notice stated that autonomous vehicles that meet the technical requirements of Guangzhou’s intelligent Internet network safety standards are allowed to provide taxi operation services. This means that autonomous driving vehicles are officially included in the transportation operation and management of general vehicles. In addition, adopting the national standardized taxi management in robotaxis will further promote the commercial applications for autonomous driving technology.
In June 2021, Pony.ai applied fully autonomous vehicles to PonyPilot+ fleet in Guangzhou. In November 2021, the company gained approval for paid autonomous Robotaxi services in Beijing and announced cooperation with ONTIME, GAC’s ride-hailing app, to speed up the commercial deployment of self-driving technologies in China.