Pony.ai's autonomous truck formation is led by an autonomous truck that leads the way for multiple L4 autonomous trucks.

(Image credit: Pony.ai)

Chinese autonomous driving startup Pony.ai recently received Guangzhou's first autonomous truck formation driving test license, giving it permission to test in the southern Chinese city.

Pony.ai announced the development in a press release today, saying that it will support its efforts to further scale up its autonomous trucking business for the transportation of bulk commodities in fleets.

The fleet of autonomous trucks takes the form of the so-called "1+N," with one autonomous truck leading the way for multiple L4 autonomous trucks.

The model reduces operating costs and improves transportation efficiency, Pony.ai said.

In addition, the model helps improve road usage efficiency, eases road congestion and reduces traffic accidents, it said.

Pony.ai has five autonomous trucks licensed for formation driving testing, according to the company.

Pony.ai received its first autonomous truck test license in Guangdong province in December 2020, which was the basis for its latest formation driving test license.

Pony.ai has been testing autonomous trucks in multiple locations in China for trunk logistics and dedicated logistics freight transport, enabling autonomous driving of trucks in different road and different weather conditions, it said.

So far, the company's autonomous trucks have covered more than 3 million kilometers of test mileage and more than 610,000 kilometers of commercial operation, with a total freight weight of nearly 40,000 tons.

Founded in late 2016, Pony.ai has set up R&D centers in Silicon Valley, Guangzhou, Beijing, and Shanghai, with local robotaxi operations.

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

On August 4, Toyota, Pony.ai, GAC Toyota, signed an agreement to set up a joint venture with a total planned contribution of more than RMB 1 billion ($140 million) within the year.

The joint venture will launch robotaxi vehicles built on Toyota-branded all-electric vehicles produced by GAC Toyota, equipped with the PCS (pre-collision safety system) feature of Toyota's T-Pilot driver assistance system, Toyota said in August.

($1 = RMB 7.1496)

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