Pony.ai has previously been approved to provide robotaxi service without a driver in the car in Beijing and Guangzhou.

(Image credit: Pony.ai)

Pony.ai, a Chinese startup backed by Toyota Motor and Capital, has brought its fully unmanned robotaxi service to yet another Chinese mega-city as it continues to advance its self-driving ambitions.

On May 29, Pony.ai received a permit in Shenzhen to conduct robotaxi services without a safety officer in the vehicle in the city's core areas, the only one to receive the permit in the city so far, according to a press release today.

Founded in late 2016, Pony.ai has established R&D centers in Silicon Valley, Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai, and is running robotaxi operations locally.

In late 2019, Nio Capital said it invested in Pony.ai for an undisclosed amount when it announced the completion of a more than $200 million fundraising. In February 2020, Pony.ai announced it had raised $400 million from Toyota.

Pony.ai launched the robotaxi app PonyPilot in December 2018 and received a permit to operate the robotaxi service for a fee in Beijing in November 2021.

On March 17, Pony.ai announced that it received a license in Beijing to operate fully unmanned robotaxi services within a 60-square-kilometer area in the Yizhuang Economic Development Zone.

On April 26, the company said it was granted permission to offer robotaxi service without a safety officer in the vehicle in Guangzhou, when it put 17 robotaxis into operation.

The expansion of the driverless footprint to Shenzhen confirms Pony.ai's ability to quickly roll out self-driving technology in different cities, it said.

Driverless vehicles need to undergo rigorous testing before hitting the road, including remote scenarios, extreme scenarios, safety management, network and data security, risk response, and a comprehensive assessment by experts and government departments, Pony.ai said.

Successfully passing these tests proves Pony.ai's technical prowess, it said.

To date, Pony.ai has more than 1 million kilometers of fully unmanned testing and nearly 200,000 paid travel orders, the company said.

Pony.ai starts offering robotaxi service in Guangzhou without safety officer in vehicles