After obtaining a license for the taxi business in Guangzhou, the leading global autonomous driving company Pony.ai announced on Tuesday 26 April a deeper partnership with Ontime, GAC’s ride-hailing app. This cooperation will see Pony.ai integrating its self-developed virtual driver technology into GAC’s new energy vehicles and providing its fee-charging robotaxi services via Ontime in Guangzhou this year. Pony.ai and Ontime will also launch jointly an initial fleet of 100 autonomous driving vehicles for the robotaxi services.
Why it matters
The partnership with Ontime is the key to Pony.ai’s strategy of building the autonomous driving ride-hailing ecosystem and is an important step to accelerating the mass commercialization of self-driving technology, according to James Peng, co-founder of Pony.ai.
According to Jiang Hua, CEO of Ontime, the cooperation can speed up the sustainable commercial development of robotaxi services, as a robotaxi operation platform is essential for gaining customer acceptance.
To further enhance the partnership, Pony.ai is investing in Ontime’s Series A financing.
Founded in 2016, Pony.ai is a world leader in developing autonomous mobility technologies and commercial services. It became the first self-driving technology company in China to obtain a taxi business license on 24 April. Apart from the partnership with Ontime, Pony.ai is reaching into the ride-hailing system by developing and deploying its own robotaxi operation app, PonyPilot+.
Ontime is a ride-hailing platform backed by Chinese automobile giant GAC Group and Chinese tech giant Tencent. In the Series A financing led by GAC Group, the company has raised one billion yuan ($153 million), with investment from Pony.ai, WeRide, SPARX, Ruisheng Asia, and other business bodies.